‘Project delays costing RG’s Office’

BY VENERANDA LANGA

THE Registrar-General (RG)’s Office has been incurring huge costs for unfinished district registry office projects, whose prices have since doubled or trebled due to late implementation.

This was revealed by Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri in her 2018 audit report of the Home Affairs ministry and the RG’s projects under public sector investment programmes.

As a result, the AG said buildings which took long to complete ended up incurring expenses such as fees for security guards hired to secure building materials.

Hwedza district registry incurred an extra $55 742 expenses above the cost of the project which was $121 599.

“I observed that the RG incurred questionable expenditure on PSIP (Public Sector Investment Programme) projects that took long to be completed as remedial
works and security costs were incurred on various projects,” Chiri said.

“The contractors had to redo some work that had previously been done such as replacing water damaged roof trusses, roof area with sagging tiles, wall cracks,
and so on. I also noted that when the projects stalled, the contractors hired security guards to guard the buildings and the material on site resulting in
unplanned security costs.

“The costs could have doubled or trebled due to inflation since prices of material required are based on quotations obtained between August to November 2018.”

The AG also expressed concern over the failure to commence work on Kadoma and Goromonzi district registries which will increase the cost of the projects.

“I further noted that Treasury released $400 000 for Kadoma district registry and another $400 000 for Goromonzi district registry in September and October
2017 respectively, but no work was done on the two projects in 2017 and 2018,” she said.

“Further inquiries revealed that Public Works commenced working on the two projects in March 2019. Public Works could not explain the causes for the delay. I
am concerned that at the time the funds were released by Treasury in 2017, they were sufficient for the materials that were required to complete the projects,
but it was no longer the case in 2019.”

Chiri noted that inflation was going to heavily affect the projects and recommended that government projects be completed as soon as possible.

“If funds are not adequate to complete the various projects the department should concentrate on one or a few projects and complete them before embarking on
other projects,” she said. Another department under the Home Affairs ministry, the Immigration Department was said to have failed to maintain a database of all
immigrants who visited and exited the country for the past 10 years.

“The risks are that the country could be having many undocumented and illegal foreigners who could be staying in the country without being pursued by relevant
authorities,” Chiri observed.

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