Accountant decries govt’s financial indiscipline

Paul Nyakazeya


GOVERNMENT accountant general Judith Madzorere has expressed reservations in the way the state is managing its finances.

In a special report by the Public Accounts Committee on Financial Management in the public sector, the committee quoted

the accountant general as saying there was a lack of discipline in the way ministries handle their books, resulting in government failing to account for billions of dollars.

Some ministries have not been submitting financial statements for the past three years.

“I highlighted that there is general laxity in the financial management (system) of the government,” Madzorere was quoted as saying in the report.

Madzorere was giving evidence to the committee on the state of government’s accounts.

The committee said line ministries had been failing to submit financial statements for public funds to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for the past three years

She said government was losing billions of dollars because there were no adequate internal checks and controls.

The committee said  Ignatious Chombo’s Local Government ministry was the main culprit having violated government’s financial regulations by diverting funds. 

The Office of the President was also fingered in the report for violating the law and failing to submit returns.

Other ministries named for violating the government’s financial laws include Agriculture, Justice, Public Service and Defence.
 
The report said Finance, Industry and  Trade, Mines,  Transport and Education had also violated regulations.

“Your committee is perturbed by the general nonchalant attitude displayed by line ministries in the execution of their duties,” the committee said.

The committee called on government to strengthen the Ministry of Finance’s supervisory role.

It said accounting officers had either delayed submitting or in some cases not submitted returns during the period under review.
 
On suspense accounts, the committee said it was disturbed to observe that the debt recovery system for advances and disallowances was in most cases ineffective with some balances having to be written off.

Funds in Temporary Deposit accounts were being frequently abused, it said.
 
“Some ministries circumvented the advances purpose by directly charging to the vote. This created problems in the event of a shortfall.

The committee strongly condemns this practice and implores the ministries to stop it forthwith,” said the committee.

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