FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa said he is intensifying efforts to put units in his office to act upon the auditor-general’s reports, as government moves to stem the rot in State-owned entities and parastatals.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Chinamasa’s remarks came after government has consistently failed to act on reports by the auditor-general’s office highlighting abuse of funds by State-owned enterprises and government departments.
Speaking at the two-day Public Accountancy and Auditor’s Board (Paab) conference last week, Chinamasa said the honeymoon was over for those who abuse public funds, as a unit would be put in place to act on reports by the auditor-general.
“Corrective measures are currently being implemented, dedicated units from the office of the auditor-general will be created in my office, that will firstly analyse financial statements of all public sector institutions, that is parastatals and local authorities to follow up all audit findings with a view to take corrective action,” Chinamasa said on Friday.
Parastatals have become a breeding ground for corruption and misuse of resources. They have consistently failed to produce audited accounts despite getting financing from Treasury.
In his 2016 national budget, Chinamasa said government “has made significant strides to amend the Public Finance Management Act and Office of the Auditor-General with a view to strengthening Treasury oversight of parastatals and local authorities”.
He said government would continue strengthening the Public Finance Management by reviewing its Public Finance Management Act 2010, which governs external borrowing in the country.
Chinamasa bemoaned the disappearance of low level class of accounting technicians (bookkeepers) saying the gap was being felt in the country.
With the economy increasingly transforming to the informal, Chinamasa said there was need for this class of accountants to service the sector.
He said his ministry would work with Paab to find ways to enhance financial literacy in Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa bemoaned the high cost of auditor’s fees saying they contributed to the high cost of doing business, which government was currently fighting to reduce.
“On professional fees, high and unsustainable fees will make it difficult for the market to use your services. I am, therefore, urging you to relook at your fees. The idea of these charges, which I personally feel they are out of reach for many would be clients,” he said.
The conference which was held under the theme Partner, Collaborate and Grow coincided with Paab’s 20th anniversary.
The indaba discussed various issues promoting public finance accountability, good corporate governance and anti-corruption as key to economic revival.