The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has added three new priority recommendations to its list for the Small Business Administration (SBA) including new items that aim to improve COVID-19 response oversight and communications in order to reduce related risks.
In GAO’s latest annual review of open priority recommendations for SBA, the government watchdog agency said that SBA implemented three of 15 pending recommendations since June 2021. Those include , implementing measures to review and analyze loan information to improve lender compliance, and developing an oversight plan for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Three additional recommendations were added in the latest review, bringing SBA’s to-do list back to a total 15 open recommendations. The current list of 15 recommendations fall into the following three areas:
- Improving oversight and communication for COVID-19 pandemic response;
- Enhancing disaster recovery efforts; and
- Improving export promotion operations.
“We urge your attention to emergency loans for small businesses and other government-wide high-risk issues as they relate to SBA,” GAO wrote in a letter to SBA. “Progress on high-risk issues has been possible through the concerted actions and efforts of Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the leadership and staff in agencies, including within SBA.”
GAO noted that in March 2021 it issued its biennial update to its High-Risk List, and reiterated that emergency loans for small businesses is a high-risk area that centers directly on SBA.
Among other high-risk areas that have direct implications for SBA include:
- Improving management of IT acquisitions and operations;
- Strategic human capital management;
- Managing Federal real property;
- Ensuring cybersecurity of the nation; and
- The government-wide personnel security clearance process.