PGAS Return In Talks

The Department of Finance is looking at going back to the Provincial Government Accounting System (PGAS) in response the recent hacking of Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS). It cost the government upwards of half a billion Kina to set up.

Minister for Finance, John Pundari said this in response to questions raised by West New Britain Governor, Sasindran Muthuvel during parliament sitting.

Governor Muthuvel had sought clarification from the Finance Minister on the cost of the IFMS setup and proposed the use of the PGAS to address funding issues for districts and provinces.

Muthuvel said, “We are currently facing a huge problem because of the malware attack on the system. What is stopping us from going back to the PGAS system that was working perfectly well and that is more transparent and accountable?”

In response, Minister Pundari said going back to the PGAS is an option that the Finance Department is presently looking at.

“Going forward, I will inform leaders and members of parliament if we so choose to go down that road again.

“There is also nothing stopping us to create a new system outside of the IFMS, but at the present time we are looking at how best we can improve the present system to upgrade and to protect it,” Minister Pundari said.

Governor Muthuvel also questioned how provincial governments and districts can be run without enough funds, while waiting for approval from BSP.

“Can the Finance Minister also clearly instruct us on how to not transfer PSIP funds for all recurrent government expenses within the provinces, which is a disadvantage when implementing projects that funds have already been appropriated for in the 2021 budget?”

Minister Pundari responded, saying that as far as PSIPs and DSIPs are concerned, all leaders know the approved guidelines that state that those funds are not for operational expenditures.

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