The Auditor General, Mr. Charles Deguara, today presented to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Anglu Farrugia, the annual report on the workings of Local Government for the year 2021.
Once again, besides the Local Councils Association, this year only around 30% of the Councils submitted their audited accounts by the established deadline of end June 2022. Moreover, by mid-November, that is, when this report was ready for publication, unfortunately, sixteen Local Councils, namely Birgu, Birkirkara, Fgura, Floriana, Gzira, Hamrun, Kercem, Luqa, Mosta, Qala, Qormi, San Giljan, Sliema, Swieqi, Valletta and the Gozo Regional Council, had not yet submitted their audited accounts to this Office. The other Councils submitted them by the time this report was being finalised. Within this context, the Auditor General urges authorities to address this deteriorating situation as urgently as possible.
On the other hand, the NAO satisfactorily notes the efforts on the part of the Administration to ensure that the Local Councils in Malta and Gozo are given the necessary support to achieve their goals. As a result, certain Councils have registered considerable progress. Nevertheless, the NAO remarked that not all Councils gave their full commitment and collaborated in the best way possible with the Local Government Auditors. Very often this resulted in substantial delays to finalise the respective audits.
The NAO also recognizes that there is still room for improvement in certain specific areas, due to the fact that some deficiencies have been repeatedly reported on in previous years. Prevailing issues relate to inadequate management of fixed assets and accounting records that were not always duly updated.
Other concerns included:
a. the audit reports of another thirty-six (36) Local Authorities were qualified with an ‘Except For’ audit opinion, meaning that certain areas could not be audited due to insufficient supporting evidence;
b. nine (9) Local Authorities failed to submit their response to the management letter by mid-November 2022; and
c. inappropriate financial planning, whereby monies were not utilised efficiently and economically, resulting in either budget overruns or excessive savings of funds.
To view report (.PDF) please follow link.