Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna said that the Government will support and heed the advice and recommendations of independent bodies such as the Auditor General’s Office, and pledged his full support to the office and its mission.
“I believe in this institution, and the oversight function it performs. As a Government, we are committed to heeding and supporting this institution and others like it,” Prof. Scicluna said. He was speaking during a management seminar held by the National Audit Office on Thursday 13th June, 2013, at the Corinthia San Gorg.
Speaking during the seminar, Prof. Scicluna also said that Government is currently looking towards the establishment of a formal framework that would increase cooperation between independent institutions like the National Audit Office, and the rest of Government.
“It is fruitless to monitor crises when these are already underway. Monitoring must start before during times of calm so that when trouble starts, we are in a position to head it off or counter it early,” Prof. Scicluna said, referring to the Eurozone crisis which risked affecting negatively Malta’s economy.
Prof. Scicluna also said that the government is working towards the establishment of an Independent Fiscal Council, which will be crucial to ensure that Malta remains on track regarding achieving a balanced budget.
He added that the Government is currently in consultation regarding how to best establish a framework that will ensure that this council will be truly independent.
Prof. Scicluna also said that the Government is looking towards the acceleration of the merger between the Inland Revenue Department, the VAT Department, and the Customs Department to speed up the consolidation of their respective revenue-generation functions.
Prof. Scicluna noted that to be in a position to preach fiscal morality, Government itself had to set an example by ensuring that its own fiscal approach is not unjust.
It was with this in mind, he said, that the Government had announced several initiatives pertaining to the VAT Department several days earlier, which will allow the Government to incentivise revenue in a more just and humane manner.
At the same time, Prof. Scicluna said, the Government is determined to ensure that it does not detract from existing deterrents aimed at reducing tax evasion or even late payments.
Prof. Scicluna also welcomed the reconfirmation of Anthony Mifsud to the position of Auditor General, noting with satisfaction that he enjoyed the confidence and support of both sides of the House.
– Friday, 14th June, 2013