Bureau of Indian Affairs:

Information on Potential Budgetary Reductions for Fiscal Year 1998

RCED-97-136R: Published: Apr 25, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1997.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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GAO provided information on selected activities within the Construction account and the Operation of Indian Programs account of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), focusing on: (1) trends in the agency's carryover balances; and (2) potential reductions to its fiscal year (FY) 1998 funding requests.

GAO noted that: (1) during FY 1994 and 1996, unobligated balances in the Construction account decreased while such balances in the Operation of Indian Programs account increased; (2) however, undelivered orders decreased for both accounts from $138 million to $90 million and from $267 million to $231 million, respectively; (3) in addition, GAO found that BIA managers cannot readily obtain cost and budget information relating to ongoing construction projects; (4) for example, the information system that BIA uses to track the construction, operations, and maintenance of its facilities is heavily dependent on the local input of data, yet less than 5 percent of the users have on-line computer access; (5) as a result, BIA's project managers must access several systems to obtain data on specific construction projects; (6) in addition, in its budget justification, BIA noted that the information system uses outdated technology and software and is subject to total breakdown at any time; (7) the shortcomings in BIA's information system made it difficult for GAO to obtain timely information on the amount of unobligated balances and undelivered orders for construction projects; and (8) nevertheless, GAO identified over $4.8 million in potential reductions to BIA's FY 1998 budget request: (a) $1.7 million from the Construction account; and (b) $3.1 million from the Operation of Indian Programs account.

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