Political Will Critical In Ensuring Transparency and Accountability In Public Finance Management
As the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) convened a Public Finance Management (PFM) Reform Indaba in Harare on the 16th of April 2019, citizens and stakeholders in Harare expressed dissatisfaction with how public funds are managed in the country, demanding deterrent measures against corrupt public officials in the quest for accountability and transparency in PFM. The PFM Indaba, which was the last leg for the coalition’s first quarter PFM Reform Indabas, provided participants with an opportunity to review and interrogate PFM system in Zimbabwe with special focus on the alignment of the Public Finance Management Act to the Constitution.
Key Demands and Recommendations
•The national Constitution should be translated into all indigenous languages for it to appeal to diverse citizens. This is important in ensuring that citizens to participate national budget processes from an informed position.
•The whipping system in Parliament of Zimbabwe is undermining the institution’s role in PFM and should therefore be revoked to allow for Members of Parliament to fully represent the interests of the electorate not just their political parties.
•People living with disabilities are not well recognised in society to the extent that crucial meetings such as budget consultations are conducted in venues which are not accessible to people with disability, thereby excluding them from participation. Participants at the PFM Indaba called upon Parliament and the relevant authorities to ensure that Bills are available in format that is palatable to the deaf and blind to ensure their participation.
•Transparency, accountability and political will are critical in strengthening the management of public finances and should be embodied in the Public Finance Management Act as provided for in the Constitution, Section 298.
•Revenue raised nationally must be shared equitably between the central government and provincial and local tiers of the government.
•Recommendations from the Auditor General (AG)’s office are never implemented despite their accuracy. The AG should therefore report directly to Parliament.