Ministries still to submit audited accounts

Shakeman Mugari

GOVERNMENT ministries have not submitted to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee audited accounts they tendered to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on behalf of parastatals they cont

rol.


The submission of the accounts to the RBZ is a prerequisite to access money from the bank’s Productive Sector Fund (PSF). But the committee wants to scrutinise the accounts before the central bank doles out billions of dollars of public funds to the debt-ridden state entities.


Ministries or departments which have not submitted reports to the committee include Information and Publicity, Local Government and Transport and Communications.


The chairperson of the committee, Glen Norah MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga confirmed that the ministries had not yet submitted accounts to her committee.


She said the committee should scrutinise the accounts before parastatals access cheap funds from the central bank.


“We want to have a look at the accounts before RBZ releases even a cent to these parastatals,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.


“We believe that there are serious holes in the accounts. Otherwise why are they (ministers and parastatals) suddenly producing up-to-date accounts when they have not been doing so for years?”


The Department of Information has not yet submitted audited accounts for debt-ridden ZBH Holdings to parliament for inspection. The company has also not submitted its annual report to the committee.


The Ministry of Local Government is still holding on to Zupco’s audited accounts despite having been directed by parliament to submit the documents. Transport and Communications is also sitting on audited accounts for CMED, Net*One and Air Zimbabwe.


Governor Gideon Gono has said parastatals that wanted to access cheap funds from the PSF should have externally audited accounts and a turnaround plan.


A number of cash-strapped parastatals hurriedly submitted their audited accounts to the central bank in a desperate bid to get the lifeline from the bank.


Ministers are required by law to submit to the parliamentary committee financial and annual reports of parastatals falling under their ministries.

Companies that have submitted accounts to the central bank include Zesa Holdings, ZBH Holdings, TelOne, Zimpost, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).


However, only Zesa, TelOne, Arda and IDC offered their accounts to parliament for inspection.


“It is not all about reports. We want these companies to address issues of corporate governance that have been outstanding for sometime. Until those issues are addressed there is no reason why they should get the money,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.


There is also concern over RBZ’s move to approve a $50 billion payout to Zesa Holdings.


“These are the same issues that we have been talking about. We have genuine fears about these parastatals getting billions when we have issues against them,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.