• COA: Despite P168-M trust fund,state university fails to modernize

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    State auditors found that the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) in Manila did not use some P168 million or 57 percent of the budget for the Special Trust Fund (STF).

    In a report released recently, the Commission on Audit (COA) said  P168,782,900.73 of the total P297,798,620 approved 2013 budget for STF was unused.

    Of the portion used, TUP incurred P4.616 million expenditures for Personal Services and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses in excess of the allotted amount, which COA said indicates that “management did not prepare a more realistic budget responsive to its operating requirements.”

    What auditors described as “the most glaring of the unobligated/unutilized budget” was the P59.482 million for the procurement of infrastructure projects and equipment for the use of the students.

    “[T]he improvement/modernization of the school facilities and equipment to address the need of the students was not realized,” they said.

    COA also reported that the entire P10.268-million budget for repairs and maintenance of building and structures was not used.

    There was also over-budgeting of the maintenance and other operating expenses with unutilized budget of 60 to 100 percent per object of expenditure, which auditors said reflects inadequate budgeting.

    “It was further observed that only P133,056,093.36 was disbursed during the year thereby resulting in the continuous accumulation of the STF in the banks which amounted to P545,466,392.14 as of December 31, 2013,” COA said.

    Auditors said  the non-implementation of the budgeted programs and projects under the STF contributed to the continuous accumulation of the STF cash balance amounting to P545,466,392.14.

    Of this amount, a total of P230,722,652.44 was invested funds in high-yield savings account (HYSA)/time deposit that COA said ran against the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Modernization Act.

    TUP said it was only temporary to earn interest instead of having it left idle in the current account, auditors said.

    The law provides for the use of STFs for instruction, research, extension and for other programs and projects of the university.

    “The present condition of the physical facilities of TUP requires improvement/ modernization for the benefits of the students who are the source of the income,” the auditors said.

    “Although the time deposits earned considerable interest, the use of money is not being maximized to achieve its goal to ‘[u]pgrade physical plant and facilities for effective and efficient delivery of services taking into account transparency, integrity and accountability.’ It must be pointed out that TUP is a service-oriented, not an investing/corporate institution,” they added.

    Meanwhile TUP has agreed to prepare a realistic budget, to ensure the implementation of the targeted activities particularly on infrastructure projects and procurement of equipment, which are urgently needed to improve the facilities and modernize the equipment for better services to the students, who are the source of the STF.

    It said  officials will meet with various project management teams of the different projects and determine the causes of the delays and request them to prepare catch-up plans.

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