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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Treasury Dept. called on the carpet over $32 million info system

By The Star Staff

The Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico has issued a qualified opinion on the fiscal operations of the island Treasury Department related to computerized information systems.

A qualified opinion is issued when individual or aggregate breaches are significant, but not widespread.

The report reveals that the Treasury Department has not obtained the expected benefits after investing $32,369,127 to implement a standardized accounting system in accordance with the Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico.

The plan, certified by the Financial Oversight and Management Board on March 13, 2017, established that the government’s financial data should be centralized in a single account and database. To this end, the Treasury selected PeopleSoft 9.2 to reimplement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

In this regard, the department formalized two contracts and amendments from July 25, 2018 effective until June 30, 2020 for $55,999,000, which was interrupted in November 2019, six weeks after completing the first phase of the reimplementation of the ERP system. Prior to the interruption of services, $32,369,127 had been disbursed to the company.

The Financial Oversight and Management Board warned on Feb. 26, 2021, about the importance of the system facilitating the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It also noted that, despite the authorized funds, the project had not been completed. To this end, a Steering Committee was created in 2021 to implement a new financial and accounting system for the island government The committee, after evaluating proposals, decided to hire the same company.

On November 2, 2022, the Treasury Department awarded a new contract to continue the project, but this time with a cloud solution that would require three years at a cost of $73,104,102. According to the work plan, the project should be completed by Dec. 31, 2024.

This situation is attributed, among other things, to the department’s failure to request all the necessary funds, which resulted in the project having to be interrupted on four occasions, and to the absence of a needs study. The difficulty of communication between consultants and Treasury Department staff due to language was also pointpointed as a cause of delays, the comptroller’s report noted..

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