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Local authorities hamstrung

MELODY CHIKONO
LOCAL authorities in Zimbabwe, excluding Harare, are battling a myriad of challenges deterring them from implementing the Auditor-General (AG)’s recommendations, a local civic organisation has said.

Every year, the Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri has bemoaned lack of implementation of recommendations by government ministries and councils.

Briefing delegates on key findings on implementing the Auditor-General’s recommendations by local authorities last week, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) programmes director John Maketo attributed the failures to use of antiquated systems and limited resources.

“We discovered issues to do with outdated financial packages playing a crucial role in failure to implement AG report recommendations. Interception around internal systems in government departments was also another issue while most have been left vulnerable to all kinds of financial mismanagement. Issues around supplying relevant paperwork for audits were also raised,” he said.

“The authorities have been lagging in this respect but you will realise that it’s difficult for them to deliver under the current circumstances. There was generally a lack of political will by local authority management to implement AG recommendations, limited capacity of councilors to play their oversight role and to interrogate AG findings. We noted lack of support from the government, shrinking fiscal space and absence of vibrant audit committees in local authorities,” Maketo added.

He said councils faced cash flow challenges and this stifled operations.

“On the other hand, local authorities were not up-to-date with their financial statements, and as such 2015 statements were the ones audited in the 2019 AG report as in the case of Mutare and Gweru City Councils,” he said.

Gweru City Councils

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