Central Audit Warns Government from Overreaching State Budget Deficit

In a statement and report of the final accounts auditing for the 2009 fiscal year, the Central Organization for Control & Auditing warned the government from continuing to overreach the safe limits of budget deficit for the coming years.

The report showed that the state’s general budget for 2009 resulted in a deficit of 509 billion YR – a deficit of 8.35% of the Gross Domestic Product, thus exceeding the rate permissible for safe limits, which is estimated to be at 3%.

The report warned the government against continuing of hospitability expenditure, office requirements and student group exchanges, which together amounted to nearly 100 billion riyals, an increase estimated at 19 billion riyals from last year.

In relation to spending on human development sectors, the report pointed out that the health sector, despite the actual functions of this sector, which reached 80.7 billion riyals, were accountably weak in controlling and supervising governmental health units or healthcare and medical establishments affiliated to the private sector.

The report criticized the weak policy adopted by the Ministry of Health in the bad distribution of health staff to health facilities and the drop out of professional qualified staff in addition to the lack of supervision, follow-up and evaluation of process of providing health and medical services as well as the serious phenomenon of drug trafficking in light of the competent authorities’ role in fighting this phenomenon.

The report said that a lot of health facilities have started to deteriorate, while many other facilities lack significant and basic medical equipment and appliances.

In education the report criticized the decline in the level of efficiency in executing investment programs for and not making use of the budget allocated, where the ministry achieved a surplus in the final statement of the budget of 28 billion YR.

The report said that education is witnessing huge weaknesses due to the lacking capacity of school management that has resulted in the low educational levels of the school principals because of the random selection which violates the rules of appointment.

This has then been reflected by the high rates of failure and ‘drop out’, as well as the decline of the students’ level of education and the weak relationship between school curriculum and the requirements of social development and the labor market.

The report pointed out that a large percentage of teachers of basic and secondary schools are not adequately qualified, where the number of teachers who only hold high school certificates represent 60% of the total number of teachers.

In relation to the technical and vocational and technical education, the report stressed that teaching staff do not have the qualifications necessary for occupying the teaching positions, nor do they hold sufficient experience and skills in the areas and positions they hold, which resulted in weakness of technical education outputs for emerging labor markets.