Public institutions unable to provide financial statements: Turkish finance minister
Uğur Gürses ISTANBUL/Radikal
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek says the amendment to a law about postponing public institutions’ audit for three years would be valid until the working group between the ministry and the Court of Accounts worked out whether financial reports could be provided. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SönmezPublic institutions were not able to provide balance sheets and financial statements in conformity with the format required by the Court of Accounts, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has said, responding to criticism over the lack of auditing of public accounts.
“We also want [to audit] but current state structure make it impossible to provide balance sheets and financial statements in public institutional bases that are appropriate with the format required by the Court of Accounts,” Şimşek said in an interview with daily Radikal on Dec. 13. He added that they had applied to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ask whether there was an “accepted application” but had received “no answer.”
The Court of Accounts will not be able to inspect official accounts for another three years, as state institutions will not be obliged to provide their accounts for inspection, according to an amendment to a law published in the Official Gazette last weekend.
The new amendment paves the way for public institutions to not submit their budget reports to the Court of Accounts, which has already been unable to audit the accounts of public institutions for the last two years, according to expert figures speaking to Radikal on Dec. 12.
“As balance sheets and financial statements in the institutional bases cannot be provided at this point, we will be auditing in three years. But this will be limited. If institutions accommodate themselves to the new regulations, we will be able to adopt the new system faster,” officials from the Court of Accounts said, according to the report.
Ministry, Court work together
However, Şimşek claimed that after the Court of Accounts started to require public institutions to submit their financial statements in 2011, the Finance Ministry examined them and told the Court of Accounts that it was not possible to provide detailed financial statements. “We had talks. But we couldn’t convince each other,” he said.
A working group between the Finance Ministry and the Court of Accounts was created in October 2012 to examine examples from abroad, he added.
Şimşek noted that the amendment to a law about postponing public institutions’ audit for three years would be valid until they worked out whether balance sheets and financial statements could be provided. He added that they were working to find a solution to the problem.
“I believe in the audit of the Court of Accounts and find it meaningful”, he said.
On Dec. 11, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader accused the government of not allowing the court to render accounts to Parliament. “This budget is not a legitimate budget. The legitimacy of a government that is not accountable to Parliament will always be under question,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
In 2012, for the first time, the Court of Accounts did not present its 132 auditing reports to Parliament because they were “not in accordance with the new law.”
This year the Court of Accounts prepared 140 reports, but a majority of them read “this institution was not audited, we cannot report.”