Gweru citizens bemoan corruption - as ZIMCODD convenes Public Finance Management Reform Indaba

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Zimbabwe is not poor in resources but suffers from poor resource management…Corruption undermines the whole PFM System in Zimbabwe…Bad governance practices rocks Zimbabwe parastatals…lack of rule of law undermines effective PFM system in Zimbabwe. These are some of the issues voiced by some residents from Gweru, Zimbabwe during a Public Finance Management Reform Indaba convened by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) on the 11th of April 2019. Nevertheless any poll on determining the most discussed issue during the Indaba, would easily pick corruption as the ultimate issues because most of the issues raised in relation to the alignment of the Public Finance Management Act to the Constitution referred back, either implicitly or explicitly to how the Act should speak to the supreme law in addressing corruption in PFM. Participants vehemently indicated that corruption has now become a “cancer that calls for divine surgery” in Zimbabwe such that stringent measures and actions should be taken to uproot this enemy of progress.

 Concerns and Recommendations from the PFM Reform Indaba

·      

Corruption is rampant in Zimbabwe’s PFM and the successive Auditor General’s reports since 2015, highlights continuous violation of procurement procedures in government departments, local authorities and state owned enterprises. In most cases, service providers are paid for goods and/or services that are never delivered by suppliers in violation of section 315 (2) of the constitution which require all state contraction process to ensure transparency, honesty, cost effectiveness and competitiveness. There is therefore need for deterrent and stringent measures (penalties and fines) against corruption and primitive accumulation in order to safeguard public resources. More so, Section 81 of the PFM Act should be amended to incorporate provisions on audit of all provincial and metropolitan councils.

·      

Public Finance Management in Zimbabwe is characterised by lack of rule of law where all the cases of corruption are recorded but no action is taken against the perpetrators. Section 308 of the constitution should be effected to provide for speedy detection of breaches on safeguarding public funds and property and when such provisions are violated ensure disciplinary procedures including punishment and recovery of local asserts. There is need for alignment to the constitution on one hand and strict implementation of the law on the other.

·      

In Zimbabwe, there are no well spelt consequences for non-compliance to PFM provisions by responsible authorities, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development included. The PFM Act should therefore provide for deterrent measures and actions to be taken against non-compliance.

·      

Zimbabwe has a weak auditing system that promotes bad governance where internal auditors report to the management in the same institutions which compromise the audit results. The PFM Act should strengthen and remodel the internal auditing system supported by accountability system. Internal auditors should not report to the authorities of the entities they are auditing.

·      

The PFMA must be explicit that financial reports adhere to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) reporting framework.  Budget structure should also take the format set out by International Public Sector Accounting Standards, for ease of integration with periodical reporting

·      

There is a tendency by the government of notifying instead of consulting parliament and citizens on PFM gestures. As a result, laws pass through Parliament instead of them being passed by Parliament. This is due to excessive powers given to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development by section 7 of the PFM Act. Instead the Institution of Parliament should be strengthened to exercise their power to oversee State revenues and expenditures as provided for in section 299 of the Constitution.

·      

There is a disastrous existence of weak governance institutions and strong individuals and those individuals are not held accountable for abuse and mismanagement of public resources. Institutions responsible for PFM should be strengthened and the executive must be stripped off of unnecessary powers that translate to public finance mismanagement and abuse and perpetrators of commercial crimes should be brought to book.

·      

Information regarding public finance management should not be sacred but open to the citizens to pave way for accountability.

·      

Bad corporate governance has been rampant in parastatals and this has been an avenue for misappropriation and looting. Parastatal reforms are therefore long overdue to curb mismanagement of finance in local authorities.

·      

There should be clear social accountability mechanisms that ensure active citizenry towards the realisation of constitutional provisions in public resources management. The pre-budget consultation process should therefore be given ample time for citizens to meaningfully participate.

·      

Public borrowing must be carried out in a transparent manner and in the interest of Zimbabweans and national development.

·      

The PFM Act should clearly explain national development, useful and necessary expenses as well as fruitless and unnecessary expenditure in order for the government to be held accountable.

 

 

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Blog Release Date: 
Friday, April 12, 2019 - 19:00
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Activity Blogs

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