Staff exodus hits AG office

Mildred Chiri

Auditor-General Mildred Chiri has bemoaned government’s failure to pay competitive salaries, which has resulted in her office losing qualified personnel.

The auditor-general said the high staff turnover experienced in her office had crippled auditing operations and investigations.

“Despite efforts to fill vacant posts in 2021, resignations continued to increase during the year resulting in a decrease in staff levels. My office lost qualified and experienced staff due to uncompetitive conditions of service,” Chiri said in the report on Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Funds accounts for 2021.

Chiri also bemoaned lack of equipment and internet network at her office.

“While the office continued with some training programmes and numbers of in-house programmes. The Office was not quite prepared and ready to undertake remote training programmes due to limited capacity in equipment and connectivity challenges. Training and development programmes for articled clerks with Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Zimbabwe to which the office is accredited continued, however at a slow pace as well,” she said.

Chiri said in terms of staff, out of an authorised establishment of 381, 262 officers were in post in 2021. In 2020, 277 officers were in post.

In 2021, Chiri said, the department made 39 new appointments and recorded 34 resignations. In 2020, the department made only six new appointments compared to 21 resignations.

Chiri also exposed the rot in the country’s health sector, where there is serious understaffing and shortages of equipment with no ambulances having been procured between 2019 and 2020.

The Harare Government Dental Centre, which is the country’s largest referral centre, is operating below capacity with insufficient human resources and equipment.

“I noted that delivery of dental services was negatively affected as the health institution was operating below capacity.

“The health institution did not have sufficient human resources, financial resources, infrastructure and equipment,” Chiri said, referring to the dental centre.

“During my visit to the health institution, patients were being turned away because of the unavailability of dental equipment to perform the necessary dental procedures.”

Chiri exposed unsupported expenditure at 11 health institutions in 2018 which incurred expenditure amounting to $160 295 that was not fully supported by documents such as requisitions, invoices or receipts as well as goods received notes. She said nine health institutions in 2018 incurred expenditure amounting to $143 154 without seeking competitive quotations and subsequently compiling comparative schedules.

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