Finance Minister Kaleb Udui said that the ministry is hoping to establish a permanent office of internal audit.

He told the senators in this week’s Senate Committee on Ways and Means oversight and budget hearing that an internal audit office will handle a lot of compliance and review for the ministry and other departments.

“This is something that will also support additional grants, technical assistance, a lot of them are requesting that we have a function like this inside the government,” Minister Udui told the senators.

Udui added that one of the requirements of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Debt Management Act is to start managing debt better.

“We anticipate we will start incurring more debt, such as the savings bond, and we are looking at obtaining a new system to manage debts and investments,” he said.

Earlier, a Pacific Economic Outlook from the World Bank said   Palau’s debt level is relatively high compared to others in the region, “reflecting the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy and the cost of fiscal response.”  Fiji and Palau continue to hold the region’s largest share of public debt, with an average of over 85 percent of GDP in 2022.

Udui said budget and planning are working on continuing to evolve fiscal responsibility management activities and reports.

 He added that they also looked at several improvements to statistical management, including both social and economic census and reports that might help better plan for Palau’s future programs and manage the activities and get better reporting.

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