COA tells PS-DBM, it has no authority to invest in high yield savings accounts
MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has urged the management of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to return to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) P3 billion in dormant funds previously invested in high yield savings.
In a letter to PS-DBM OIC Atty. Jasonmer Uayan dated June 29, the COA recommended that the management “instruct the Head, Treasury Division to remit immediately the balance of High Yield Savings account of P3.000 billion to the BTr.”
Based on records reviewed by the COA, PS-DBM invested in high yield savings account with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to earn at higher interest rates than in current or savings accounts.
These investments however were already terminated in 2020. The amounts were reverted to PS-DBM’s current account with the LBP and the funds with the DBP worth P3.001 billion were reflected as “cash in bank - time deposits, local currency” in its records.
The P3.001 billion deposit earned P1.363 million in interest income. The interest income was already returned to the Treasury bureau as of March 18, 2022.
But according to COA, not just the interest but the entire P3 billion should be reverted to the national treasury’s general fund.
The source of the P3 billion funds could not be specifically identified but since the funds with the PS-DBM came from client-agencies whose budgets are given annually, any fund balance should revert to the general fund of the national treasury, the agency said.
“The High Yield Savings account has been established for more than five years and has remained inactive, with the incurrence of interest income as the only transaction,” COA noted.
Under both Executive Order No. 431 issued in 2005 and a 2012 joint circular issued by he Department of Finance, DBM and COA, all dormant accounts and unnecessary special and trust funds should be reverted to the general fund.
Inactive accounts for more than 5 years are considered “dormant” while authorized special trust funds which are no longer needed for the purpose for which they were established are deemed “unnecessary special and trust funds.”
“The non-reversion of the investment in High Yield Savings account maintained for over five years to the BTr’s GF (Bureau of Treasury’s General Fund) had not provided the NG (national government) additional funds for its operations,” COA said.
The agency reminded PS-DBM not to go beyond its mandate and authority.
“It is not in PS’s mandate to make investments and it has no authority to invest in High Yield Savings account. The practice of investing cash in a High Yield Savings account, therefore, deviates from its mandate of procurement of CSEs (common-used supplies and equipment) which requires the utilization of funds,” it said.
The PS-DBM was established primarily to “provide smart procurement solutions” to government agencies by procuring “quality government requirements efficiently and economically from reputable sources” and encouraging a “fair, transparent and competitive environment.”
However, the PS-DBM was mired in controversies surrounding the purchase of pandemic supplies and recently, of expensive laptops for the Department of Education.