Govt moves to curb public finance leakages

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa says the Public Finance Management Act will soon be reviewed to strengthen existing governance and accountability arrangements to curb financial leakages in ministries and parastatals.


“The Bill to amend the Public Finance Management Act has already been gazetted for consideration by this august House,” Chinamasa told Senate last Thursday said after Manicaland Senator Anthony Chimhini quizzed him on measures being taken to implement recommendations made by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri.

“Some of the proposed amendments seek to, among other things, clarify the roles of respective stakeholders in the operations of public entities and strengthen the sector ministries and Treasury’s oversight of public entities,” he said.

Chinamasa-5 FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa [/Caption]

He said the Bill will also provide for governance arrangements over statutory funds that were not adequately catered for in the current legislation.

“The law will make it mandatory for supervising ministries to check for and ensure consistency of public entities’ annual corporate plans and budgets with the financial policies set by government, and compel public entities to implement recommendations within timeframes agreed with the Auditor General.”

He said the Public Sector Corporate Governance Bill would also be introduced to deal with corporate governance issues and remuneration framework for State enterprises, parastatals and local authorities.

“The Bill seeks to establish a corporate governance and delivery agency to monitor activities of boards, assess public entities’ compliance with the prescribed national code, set parameters for the appointment of public enterprises boards and provide for the establishment of board committees.”

He said the Bill would also provide for the appointment, tenure of office, conditions of service and performance monitoring of public entities’ chief executives.

Some of the cases of corruption at State enterprises and parastatals that the Auditor-General’s reports exposed recently included the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) which in 2014 lost $11 million after failing to deduct $7,5 million withholding tax to 23 suppliers that had no tax clearance certificates.

A further $4,1 million was paid to Zinara creditors without authorised payment vouchers.

In 2014, Chiri’s audit report said $180 million could have been lost through Treasury payments to ministries that were not supported by invoices and receipts from service providers. None of the executives implicated in the alleged scams have been brought to book.

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