It is absolutely mind boggling that there has been irregularity in Bangladesh in the expenditure of nearly 50 billion taka (US$623.98 million) all public money, by various ministries, over the fiscal years between 2008 and 2011. This has been revealed in the audit report by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).
Such a huge amount of irregularly spent money shows lax financial discipline in handling public money. One wonders why ministries and their ancillary departments and directorates have to resort to cutting corners when there are comprehensive rules and instructions on how government funds are to be utilised. It is surprising that the finance ministry, which is supposed to set example of financial discipline, is the biggest offender, having spent more than a thousand crore inappropriately.
Regrettably, this is an old malaise, coming down over the years as a recurring problem. What is more worrisome is the fact that a huge amount of such money has not been regularised. Reportedly, 500 billion taka remain unrealised since 1972. However, it is somewhat heartening to note that the Public Accounts Committee has managed to realise 80 billion taka in adjustments and recovery this year alone.
We understand that not the entire amount may have been misappropriated. Some of them may have been genuinely utilised. But when public money is spent on unauthorised heads, even if it is for a genuine purpose, it is still a violation of the rules of expenditure and breach of financial order. And this happens not without the endorsement of the department heads. Therefore it is just not enough to only realise the irregular expenditures.
We feel that the defaulters must also come under the law for approving irregular expenditures, and punished appropriately. Also the CAG should complete the year’s audit every year and not of three or four years together to avoid accretion of irregularities and delay in holding people to account and realising the wrongly spent money.
Posted on: 2012-12-27 09:16