Government Accounts Section
The Consolidated Accounts Section considered to be the executive arm of the Accountant General. The main functions of this Section are to ensure that Ministries and Departments adopt and maintain uniformity in the accounting system. The Section is guided in this exercise by the Financial Regulations 1966 and the Financial Administration and Audit Act 1962 as well as by circulars issued from time to time to help in the interpretation of financial policy and legislation.
The processing and Vote accounting of transactions effected by Ministries and Departments is the main function of the Section. The Accounts Section processes local payments. These transactions involve accounts belonging to the Consolidated Fund, the Treasury Clearance Fund and other funds and accounts held by Government.
Apart from its day-to-day business, the Section also carries out additional assignments during the year including the issue of ad hoc reports requested by the Ministry for Finance, the National Statistics Office and the Central Bank of Malta. Other reporting as required by legislation is also carried out by this Section within the established time-frames. Of particular relevance are the Section 65 Statements, the Annual Financial Report, the monthly Comparative Return of Expenditure and Revenue, and the publication on a quarterly basis of the Consolidated Fund Account.
The Section also carries out other duties relating to the Public Credit, Government Loans and Investments, Investments through MGI, Trust Funds and their related Investments, Warrants and Advances, collects returns from Departments on their respective Arrears of Revenue, collects and verifies returns on Stores Written off/Cash Losses, and monitors Other Deposit Accounts.
The Verification unit has two main roles namely the verification of local payments made by Government Departments and the verification of Official Overseas Travel performed by public officers.
Verification of Local Payments
Legal Notice 185/2007 empowers the Verifications Unit to verify payments being processed and other payments already processed and paid. During the verification exercise, the Unit’s role is to review, appraise and report on the adequacy of procedures adopted by Government Departments to ensure that proper financial controls are in place and function effectively. A report of the findings is issued on a quarterly basis and copied to the National Audit Office (NAO). Furthermore payments being processed and which are identified as not in conformity to the present regulations are rejected and the Department is informed to take appropriate corrective action.
Verification of Overseas Travel Abroad
The Verifications Unit has also the role to verify the Overseas Travel Abroad documentation according to the current official overseas travel policy. The Unit requests post-travel documentation in order to monitor that the travel policy is being observed by the Government Departments. Any departures from the standing policy are communicated to the Department concerned in order to rectify the situation. NAO is copied in with investigated cases. This process is also being done randomly prior to any reimbursements for visits abroad are issued to officers. Approval for payment is issued once the Unit verifies the correctness of the reimbursement in question. Another task performed by the Verifications Unit is the monitoring of the submissions made for the overseas visits. A report of the outstanding travel advances is issued on a quarterly basis to the Financial Policy Management Division (FPMD) within the Ministry for Finance.
Cash Office and Bank Transactions Unit
The Treasury Cash Office consists of the Cash Office and the Bank Transactions Unit. Both sections perform front office work, as they see to members of the public and Government Departments on a daily basis. The Cash Office is responsible for the handling of cash and deposits of money received, cash flow projections, garnishee orders, stop payments and cancellation of cheques. The bank reconciliation of the Public Account also falls under the responsibility of this section.
The Bank Transactions Unit effects overseas and local payments, fund transfers, and travel related payments from all Government Departments. Once checked and authorized, these are forwarded to the Central Bank of Malta after ensuring that all documents submitted are in accordance with the Government’s Financial Regulations.
This office also collects returns from Ministries/Departments on their respective End of Year Statement of Cash in hand and Account Bank Balances held at local commercial banks and the Central Bank of Malta.
The EU Funds Management Unit
The EU Funds Management Unit (EUFMU) is responsible for the execution of payments relating to EU Funds, including Transition Facility, Structural 2004-2006 (Cohesion Fund); EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism 04-09; Cohesion Policy 2007-2013; Migration Flow Funds (EBF, ERF, RF); Swiss-Maltese co-operation Programme; European Fisheries Fund.
The Unit effects payments to contractors/individuals and reimbursements to project beneficiaries through the Central Bank of Malta. Payments are carried out after all relevant checks, related to expenditure and supporting documents are completed.
Also, the Unit ensures the promotion of sound and efficient management of EU funds across all government departments and implementing agencies EUFMU is also responsible for the managing of the Public Account and accounts for the EU Funds which are transferred by the Certifying Authority within the Ministry for Finance.