‘Failure to implement audit findings bad for national budget’
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