Public sector entities honoured
THE inaugural Public Sector Audit Conference and Financial Management Awards was held on July 27 and 28 at Rainbow Towers, Harare. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest of honour. Overview Auditing, both internal and external, is indispensable in the prudent management of the public sector, serving as the immune system ensuring healthy economic and social development. Auditing is a cornerstone of good public sector governance.
By providing unbiased, objective assessments of whether public resources are managed responsibly and effectively to achieve intended results, internal and external auditors help public sector organisations achieve accountability and integrity, improve operations, and instil confidence among citizens and stakeholders.
The public sector auditor’s role supports the governance responsibilities of oversight, insight, and foresight, assisting to detect and deter public corruption, thereby improving the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe; to provide an independent assessment of public sector programmes, policies, operations, and results; and to identify trends and emerging challenges.
The Public Sector Conference seeks to interrogate challenges faced by various public institutions in attaining clean audits, and provide guidance related to auditing in the public sector. The Conference presents information on the importance of the public sector audit activity to effective governance and defines the key elements needed to maximise the value that audit activity provides to all levels of the public sector.
Auditing in the public sector plays an essential role in ensuring accountability and sound financial management of scarce national resources, which are key elements for achieving sustainable social and economic development.
The public sector is the key driver for socio-economic development of any nation, with institutions such as State Enterprises and Parastatals (SEPs) and Local Authorities among others, playing significant roles.
In addition to playing a pivotal role for economic growth and social stability, the public sector is responsible for the creation of an appropriate and conducive environment in which all other sectors can perform optimally.
The success of Zim-Asset is dependent on prudent management of available resources, transparency and accountability. According to the Auditor General’s reports of recent years, a considerable number of key public sector entities in Zimbabwe are facing serious challenges and are unable to achieve clean audits. The challenges are said to evolve around five major issues, namely; Corporate governance Revenue collection, management and debt recovery; Procurement of goods and services; Investments; Employment. With the heightened campaign for foreign investment, expectations are high that public sector organisations will play their part and be in a position to deliver efficient and effective services, and also be able to achieve clean audits to instil investor confidence.
The Public Sector Audit Conference interrogated institutional and professional challenges faced by public sector organisations, senior management, internal auditors and all employees, and seek to use case studies, panel discussions, brainstorming sessions and other methods to find practical and applicable solutions.
The Financial Management Awards seek to recognise those public sector entities that have achieved, or made distinguishable efforts to achieve financial prudence, acting as an incentive for the entire public sector to strive to achieve more.
The event is important for those in the financial service sector, public sector supply management, the generality of public sector leadership, as well as accounting and auditing firms, banks, and other relevant service providers.
Who attended? The below-listed people from Government departments and agencies, parastatals, State-owned enterprises, local authorities, public health sector and other organisations: Internal Auditors; Finance Managers; Accountants; Audit Committees; Tender Committees; Mayors and Town Clerks; Council Chairpersons and CEOs; SOE Chief Executive Officers; Senior Departmental Directors; Accounting and Auditing Firms Financial Institutions; Service Providers to Public Sector Institutions; All stakeholders.
Conference Objectives To help align the role of audit with the objectives and aspirations of ZimAsset;
To use audit as an effective tool for enhancing public service delivery;
To address threats such as fraud and corruption within public sector organisations;
To help improve the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe;
To address challenges and pitfalls faced by public sector organisations, that hinder them from achieving clean audits.
Expected Outcomes Creation and implementation of policies that promote transparency, sustainable financial management and good public sector governance;
Establishment of more sustainable, resilient, strategic and value-driven performances within the entire public sector spectrum; Uncovering of new solutions to audit challenges; Personal growth for professionals responsible for shaping the future of the country’s public sector, and the national economy in general.
To recognise those that did well in financial management. Those that made an effort to keep their records well.