BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The World Bank has allocated US$300 000 towards implementation of International Public Standards (IPSAS), which will see government adapt an accrual-based reporting framework to enhance transparency and financial accountability, an official has said.
Currently, government is using a cash accounting-basis technique, which only reflects current expenditures against cash available. The technique does not encourage full disclosure of liabilities and debtors.
Finance secretary George Guvamatanga said adoption of IPSAS will help increase confidence in government records as it requires extensive disclosures from public sector entities.
“The public sector is key in the economic reform agenda and, therefore, as government we cannot understate the need to ensure that the migration to the accrual-based IPSAS is a success. After the pronouncement to migrate, government set aside a ZW$700 000 budgetary support for the initial phases of the IPSAS implementation from the 2019 national budget, while the World Bank allocated US$300 000,” Guvamatanga said at a business meeting organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe.
The accountants’ body, together with Chartered Accountants Academy, is in a partnership with government to train public sector accountants and auditors
“As the ministry of finance and economic development, we fully support the initiative by ICAZ as a first step towards addressing some of the challenges we face in the public sector. The government has committed to pay for 300 pilot public-sector accounting staff to be part for the roll out of this course,” he said.
Accountant-General, Daniel Muchemwa, who was also present at the event, said the public sector is affected by lack of expertise to implement the reporting initiatives that are specific to the public sector.
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“Majority of professionals within the public sector currently learn, develop and grow on the job, which is commendable. However, the current academic and professional curriculum lacks the requisite public-sector blend. The challenges are further compounded by lack of sufficient study material on public sector reporting, especially for Zimbabwe, and hence the processes may not be sufficient to allow for learning and implementing the results of the learning effectively, in a way that meets international standards,” he said.
A recent report by the Auditor-General highlighted the poor state of accounting records in public entities.