Pres­i­dent Lungu bets on Pub­lic Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Bill to Curb Cor­rup­tion in Gov­ern­ment

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

ZAM­BIA’s repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu is has firmed up on the Pub­lic Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Bill ex­pected to be passed into law by mid -year 2018.

ZAM­BIA’s repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu is has firmed up on the Pub­lic Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Bill ex­pected to be passed into law by mid -year 2018. Speak­ing dur­ing his pub­lic meet­ing on his tour of the Cop­per­belt Prov­ince, the Head of State lamented the against abuse of state re­sources to the ex­tent of warn­ing that he would dis­miss Cab­i­net Min­is­ters, if found want­ing.

This was a re­peated call within the same week as he had taken a sim­i­lar stance when he graced the open­ing of the sem­i­nar for min­is­ters and con­trol­ling of­fi­cers at Mu­lun­gushi In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Lusaka on 7th Fe­bru­ary. Dur­ing the sem­i­nar themed: pro­mot­ing eth­i­cal con­duct, in­tegrity and ac­count­abil­ity in the pub­lic sec­tor for en­hanced pub­lic ser­vice de­liv­ery pro­mot­ing pru­dent fi­nan­cial man­age­ment prac­tices, Pres­i­dent Lungu said that he was aware of the duty be­stowed on him by the Zam­bian peo­ple. The re­cently re­leased Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s re­port which high­lighted a sharp in­crease in miss-ap­pro­pri­a­tion and miss-ap­pli­ca­tion of pub­lic funds from about K28mil­lion to over K162mil­lion un­der his watch in 2016. The Head of State and gov­ern­ment re­peated a con­cern over the ir­reg­u­lar use of na­tional re­sources.

"I am deeply con­cerned about these re­cur­ring fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and the wastage of pub­lic re­sources through in­ac­tiv­ity by those charged with su­per­in­tend­ing over the na­tion’s re­sources," he re­peated.

The Zam­bian leader ac­knowl­edged that he was aware that, there are com­plaints from stake­hold­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic re­gard­ing the weak reg­u­la­tory and le­gal frame­work on fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

“My gov­ern­ment has taken note of these com­plaints and has em­barked on im­ple­ment­ing pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment re­forms in plan­ning and bud­get­ing, rev­enue ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­count­ing and re­port­ing, in­ter­nal au­dit and con­trol and pub­lic pro­cure­ment to en­sure and en­shrine in law the pru­dent use of pub­lic re­sources," he said.

And to ad­dress the com­plaints, he stated that his gov­ern­ment has pre­pared and sub­mit­ted the pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment bill (2017) to par­lia­ment to stiffen reg­u­la­tory and sanc­tion regime that will see fines and jail sen­tences of up to 5 years for of­fend­ers.

The Pres­i­dent was hope­ful that once this bill is en­acted into law, it will com­pel ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in the pub­lic sec­tor.

Pres­i­dent Lungu fur­ther an­nounced other re­forms that his gov­ern­ment is work­ing on to stem pil­fer­age and wastage of gov­ern­ment re­sources. He stated that to ad­dress the pric­ing of ser­vices pro­cured by gov­ern­ment; the state was re­vis­ing the Zam­bia pub­lic pro­cure­ment Act by amend­ing the law to en­hance ef­fi­ciency and pre-load guid­ance pric­ing. Ad­min­is­tra­tion would shorten the lengthy ten­der­ing pro­ce­dures and in­tro­duce mea­sures to re­duce wastage such as bench­mark­ing of prices and works.

Pres­i­dent Lungu cited the ten­der­ing process as one of the big­gest ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties pointed out by the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral re­port.

Rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment agen­cies have been di­rected to ex­pe­dite the bill tabling to law mak­ers by the next sit­ting of par­lia­ment this month so as to ac­cel­er­ate en­act it into law by June. He fur­ther an­nounced and di­rected that all Gov­ern­ment Min­istries be on a sin­gle ac­count for easy mon­i­tor­ing of na­tional re­sources. “To strengthen com­mit­ment con­trols, a lot of work will go into mi­grat­ing all min­istries onto the In­te­grated Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem - (IFMIS) and Trea­sury Sin­gle Ac­count -TSA sys­tem.

The head of state fur­ther stated that his gov­ern­ment will de­liver au­toma­tion of rev­enue col­lec­tion. For tax and non-tax rev­enue col­lec­tion gov­ern­ment is au­tomat­ing the process to curb pil­fer­age which is in­her­ent in re­source mo­bil­i­sa­tion. Min­istries in­volved par­tic­u­larly in non-tax rev­enue col­lec­tion will com­mence au­toma­tion of rev­enues in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs par­tic­u­larly the Zam­bia Po­lice Ser­vice.

On strength­en­ing in­ter­nal con­trols and au­dit, Zam­bia now has a Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in charge of Au­dit queries. The Pres­i­dent re­cently up­graded the of­fices of the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral and Con­troller of In­ter­nal Au­dit to Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary level in a move aimed at en­hanc­ing in­ter­nal con­trols, fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing and re­port­ing.

The Pres­i­dent ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment with lack of ac­tion by law en­force­ment agen­cies. He re­gret­ted not­ing that a num­ber of cases raised by the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral and other agen­cies have not been acted upon which he did not un­der­stand why. He vividly stated that he does not like to be la­belled a cor­rupt Pres­i­dent or a shield for cor­rupt gov­ern­ment

"I have a duty and re­spon­si­bil­ity which was con­ferred upon me by the peo­ple of Zam­bia to pro­tect the na­tion’s re­sources. With this heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity, I have ap­pointed you (cab­i­net min­is­ters, per­ma­nent sec­re­taries and gov­ern­ment cost cen­tre con­trol­ling of­fi­cers) to as­sist me de­liver on this very im­por­tant man­date" Pres­i­dent Lungu

His Ex­cel­lency the Pres­i­dent of Repub­lic of Zam­bia Edgar Lungu

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