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Ministries violate Public Finance Act

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At least four in every five ministries are violating the Public Finance Management Act and the Audit Act by failing to submit reconciliations seven days after the end of each month, the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (Sapst) has said.

Speaking during a workshop for journalists on budget and public finance reforms in Harare on Monday, Sapst, senior economist Artwell Gonese said ministries were required to submit reconciliations of the Paymaster General’s Account within seven days of each month-end to Treasury.

“In 2010, 83% of the ministries failed to comply with the Paymaster General’s Account,” he said.

In 2009, 95% of the ministries failed to comply. He said auditing involved assessment of actual expenditures incurred by the government during a given financial year to provide an unbiased, objective view of whether public resources were responsibly and effectively managed to achieve intended results.

Gonese said 13 of these ministries did not even submit the 2010 accounts.

“Non-submission of accounts by ministries in 2010 was so bad that 13 ministries did not submit and did not maintain up-to-date asset registers,” he said.

Gonese suggested that projects and government departments should be audited through Public Accounts Committee, thereby making audits relevant to the public. According to Sapst, revenue collected, but not recognised, increased to 13,9% in 2010 from 11,4% in 2009.

The scenario was the same for revenue collected, but not banked which increased to 11,1% in 2010 from 2,9% in 2009.

Unauthorised expenditure decreased to $20,8 million in 2010 from $24,2 million the prior year.
Gonese said 40% of the ministries could not provide supporting documentation for expenditure incurred in the form of third party invoices, receipts or internal goods receipt vouchers as evidence of receipt.

He said the ministries were facing constant breakdown of the Public Finance Management System.

This is a computerised accounting system used by the government to process data and produce accounting information and this resulted in unreliable expenditure figures and unreconciled revenue transactions.

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