FORMER Auditor-General Mildred Chiri says government should prioritise strengthening its institutions if it is to achieve Vision 2030 goals.
Through Vision 2030, Zimbabwe hopes to achieve upper-middle-income status by 2030. However, corruption and unexplained expenditures of taxpayers’ money remains a big threat to attaining the goal.
Over the years, Chiri has released several adverse reports on how billions of taxpayers’ money has gone missing or is unaccounted for by government departments and State-owned entities. Despite this, most of Chiri’s recommendations as the Auditor-General largely fell on deaf ears.
“There is no doubt that for any government to deliver services to its people it should have strong institutions to buttress its operations. In most countries, public services are delivered by government through various public sector entities,” said Chiri at last week’s Chartered Governance and Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe annual conference in Victoria Falls.
“Governments should be citizen-centric, that is, they should focus on delivering good quality service to their citizens. Audits help institutions to stay focused on their mandates, goals and objectives. Good service delivery will lead to the realisation of the 2030 SDGs.”
Chiri suggested that government should put in place measures and interventions which should help strengthen public sector institutions so that they can deliver on the expected services.
She added that public sector institutions provided essential services which should be accessible and afforded by all citizens. These include water, energy, transport, education, health, and refuse collection among others.
In 2017, under the late former President Robert Mugabe’s administration, Chiri was briefly fired and re-hired after Parliament rejected her successor arguing the Auditor-General had acquitted herself well in the job.
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“Most of the services are subsidised by government. Before the year 2000, parastatals output constituted about 40%-50% of Zimbabwe’s GDP (gross domestic product),” said Chiri who retired this year after 19 years as the Auditor General.
“After 2000, it nose-dived to 10%. Government has come up with some measures in order to strengthen the public institutions so that they can get back to their glory of yester-year.”
Chiri said strong institutions should have a clear vision, mandate and objectives or goals to satisfy social needs, while being guided by ethics of good governance, risk management and accountability norms.