25th June 2020:
The Auditor General’s Department is responsible for auditing the Financial Statements of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in keeping with Section Sections 116 (2) and (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Section 46 of Act 40 of 1996. There has been some delays to the audit of the Assembly’s Financial Statements which may be due to manpower and financial challenges. The Auditor General is currently conducting the audit for the year ended 30th September 2016 and audits for 2010 and 2013 are still outstanding.
The Minister of Finance has granted formal approval to the Tobago House of Assembly to issue a $300 Million Bond on the domestic market in keeping with Act 40 of 1996 Section 51 (b) to fund infrastructure development on the island. Access to this type of funding may require up to date audited financial statements and as such the Auditor General agreed that the Assembly can engage a reputable, qualified audit firm in the private sector to provide an independent assessment of the THA finances and to complete the outstanding audits. The Division of Finance and the Economy
has therefore given a commitment to ensure that the back log is cleared up to facilitate this process. It must be noted that, independent external auditors from the private sector were used by the Auditor General in the past to audit state agencies.
In light of the above the THA prepared a Request for Proposal (RfP) for the audit of its financial statements with the assistance of a qualified independent, external audit firm in the private sector. Since all auditors in the private sector are licensed and listed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago (ICATT), the Division of Finance and the Economy requested their assistance to circulate the RfP in order to attract the widest possible participation of qualified auditors. Responses to the RfP are to be addressed to the Administrator, Division of Finance and the Economy as outlined in the document.
Additionally, the delays of the Audits have made it quite challenging to address the concerns highlighted in the Auditor General’s report in a timely manner and therefore similar issues may be raised in subsequent audits before they are addressed. For example, the audit for Fiscal 2016 is currently being undertaken by the Auditor General’s Department in Fiscal 2020. It therefore means that since those concerns are identified four (4) years later, audits for the years following Fiscal 2016 may have similar concerns that would only be addressed from 2020.
Division of Finance and the Economy
Victor E. Bruce Financial Complex
Tel: 639-4412, ext. 54404/54413