‘Fail­ure to im­ple­ment au­dit find­ings bad for na­tional bud­get’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Busi­ness Ed­i­tor

DO­MES­TIC re­source leak­ages as a re­sult of fail­ure to im­ple­ment au­dit find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions by the pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee (PAC) is to blame for na­tional bud­get fail­ure and the slow­down in turn­ing the coun­try’s econ­omy around, the Speaker of Par­lia­ment, Ja­cob Mu­denda, has said.

In his ad­dress dur­ing the 2017-pre-bud­get sem­i­nar in Bu­l­awayo last week, Ad­vo­cate Mu­denda told Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and Cabi­net min­is­ters that non­im­ple­men­ta­tion of au­dit find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions was fu­elling cor­rup­tion within Gov­ern­ment.

“The PAC has done a ster­ling job in scru­ti­n­is­ing the au­dit re­ports by the Au­di­tor Gen­eral and tabling re­ports in the House (Par­lia­ment), which have at­tracted in­tense de­bate and in­ter­est from the gen­eral pub­lic,” said the Speaker.

He blasted: “The au­dit re­ports have re­vealed ram­pant abuse of pub­lic re­sources by var­i­ous Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and yet still, very lit­tle has been done to rec­tify this eco­nomic can­cer”.

Zim­babwe has of late been rocked by a string of cor­rup­tion scan­dals in­volv­ing top of­fi­cials in pub­lic en­ter­prises and min­istry de­part­ments that have prej­u­diced the coun­try of mil­lions of dol­lars.

Re­ports of si­phon­ing of pub­lic funds in Air Zim­babwe’s in­sur­ance scam to the tune of 10 mil­lion, the al­leged $11 mil­lion NetOne cor­rup­tion case, Zimra’s $1 mil­lion ve­hi­cle im­por­ta­tion scam, Zesa’s $5 mil­lion ten­der storm and the lat­est Zimdef case in­volv­ing about $400 000 are some of the high pro­file cases.

Ad­vo­cate Mu­denda said fail­ure to im­ple­ment given rec­om­men­da­tions ren­ders the work of PAC and Par­lia­ment as a whole purely aca­demic, thereby “per­pet­u­at­ing do­mes­tic re­source leak­ages which could eas­ily fail to bol­ster the na­tional bud­get”.

The Gov­ern­ment had an­nounced a $4 bil­lion bud­get for 2016 based on an­tic­i­pated 2.7 per­cent growth for the year, which has since been re­vised to 1.2 per­cent.

Trea­sury last week re­vealed that the coun­try has ex­ceeded its bud­get ex­pen­di­ture by $410 mil­lion be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2016.

While the fall in com­mod­ity prices and poor agri­cul­ture yields due to drought con­trib­uted to un­der­per­for­mance of the bud­get, eco­nomic ex­perts also blame cor­rup­tion and low and neg­a­tive in­vest­ment cli­mate for the slug­gish growth.

Ad­vo­cate Mu­denda has since called upon Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to ex­pe­dite en­act­ment of laws that fa­cil­i­tate the ease of do­ing busi­ness and im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency in the man­age­ment of pub­lic funds.

He made ref­er­ence to the Par­lia­ment of Mau­ri­tius, which in 2006 en­acted the Busi­ness Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Act (BFA) with a view of ame­lio­rat­ing reg­u­la­tory pro­ce­dures.

In­spite of its small eco­nomic size, low en­dow­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources and re­mote­ness from world mar­kets, Ad­vo­cate Mu­denda said Mau­ri­tius has trans­formed it­self from a poor sugar econ­omy into one of the most suc­cess­ful economies in Africa in re­cent decades.

The coun­try is now re­garded as one of the best des­ti­na­tions to do busi­ness in Africa, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank’s Do­ing Busi­ness In­dex.

The hall­mark of the Mau­ri­tian suc­cess story in eco­nomic man­age­ment has been a pru­dent and non-con­tra­dic­tory pol­icy ma­trix, said the Speaker.

“Let us fol­low suit in craft­ing the 2017 na­tional bud­get as pro­pelled by the pos­i­tive re­form tra­jec­tory that the coun­try has em­barked on un­der the Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness Re­forms be­ing spear­headed by the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net,” he said.

Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa is ex­pected to present the 2017 na­tional bud­get pol­icy state­ment next month.

Ad­vo­cate Ja­cob Mu­denda

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