Am. Samoa Governor Seeks New Financial System

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Governor: Current system unable to meet ‘fiscal management vision’

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 18, 2015) – The American Samoa Government is trying to find a new financial system to handle its "fiscal management vision", with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga saying it’s apparent the current IFAS Financial System used by ASG is unable to meet the government’s needs.

In a Feb.12 memo to his directors, he asked for their input regarding the best type of system, and said their recommendations will help the government prepare the grant necessary for the U.S. Interior Department to fund a new system.

In his memo, Lolo says it has become apparent that ASG’s current IFAS Financial System lacks the capacity to implement the financial management vision inherent in affecting commitment to among other things, restrict spending to actual generated revenues, and generation of accurate financial information to aid financial management decisions.

Additionally, the current system lacks capacity to provide safeguards from system manipulation, flag duplicate payment entries, properly record financial transactions based on the date of execution, accurate accounting of encumbrances, real time provision of financial reports and current balances, and other IFAS System weaknesses which have been observed.

Lolo said the failure of the system to provide proper controls of annual, sick, and comp-time leave balances— and the recent revelation that annual, sick, and comp-time leave which had been paid have reappeared in the system— compels exploration of a new system with the capacity "to implement our fiscal management vision."

Based on these reasons, the governor asked each cabinet director to provide for Treasury Department’s review, their recommendations as to the type of financial informational system which would have the capacity to assist in prudent financial management.

The governor acknowledged that departments and offices have varied financial system needs "hence it is your responsibility to ensure that the financial information needs of your department, agency or office will be addressed by the new financial information system."

"These needs will help us determine the type and capacity of the financial system that we will need to accommodate our financial management needs," he said, adding that financial requirements from directors should be submitted to Treasury no later than Feb. 27.

"Also, if you have recommendations or solutions to this search, please include this as well," Lolo said and noted that Treasury will use this information to prepare ASG’s technical assistance grant proposal to Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Esther Kia'aina, for consideration.

ASG’s inadequate financial computer system was one of the issues the governor cited in a letter last November to Kia’aina, in which the administration says it needs DOI funding support.

According to the governor, ASG’s current financial system "no longer meets ASG’s financial management and accountability needs, thus requiring the implementation of a new financial system."

The governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News last December that the administration has determined that the current IFAS computer system lacks the capacity to accurately account, monitor, and track the government's fixed assets, which in turn causes problems with the government's single audit, posing possible audit citations which could preempt the issuance of a clean audit.

He says the technical assistance grant request to DOI’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) would avail funds either to purchase and install the additional IFAS System modules— or to facilitate the purchase of a new financial package which properly monitors, tracks, and accurately accounts for fixed asset values.

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