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‘Parliamentary Committees recommendations should be taken seriously’

GOVERNMENT should implement recommendations made by Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri and Parliament before allocating any funds to line ministries, a legislator has urged.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Chairperson of the portfolio committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development , Felix Mhona made the suggestion while addressing a budget analysis workshop for lawmakers held in Bulawayo recently.

“It is high time our recommendations as Parliamentary Committees are taken seriously and feed into the national budget. I believe that it is time that this new dispensation ensures that no public funds are disbursed to any line ministry without the Executive implementing the recommendations raised by the Auditor General as well as Parliament, especially, those from the post audit committee, the Public Accounts Committee,” Mhona said.

Every year, Chiri has been churning out reports detailing the extent of weak corporate governance and in most cases outright corruption in government and State-run enterprises.

He said the AG has noted inadequate coordination between the Ministry of Finance and various ministries wherein direct payments were made and documentation for same being insufficient.

Mhona said committees should play their part in curbing corruption through effectively scrutinising all public expenditure and ensure that those who abuse public resources were brought to book.

“It is disheartening to note that some ministries continue to breach the clear legislative provisions by not submitting statutory reports to Parliament and their accounts for audit by the Auditor-General in terms of Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) from Section 32 to 35 that compel ministries to submit monthly and quarterly financial and accompanying reports to the Accountant-General, the AG and their respective portfolio committees,” Mhona said.

“There is, therefore, need to invoke Section 86 of the PFMA which include dismissal for wilful or negligently failing to comply with part IV and V of the Act, which covers the production and presentation of financial statements,” he added.

In order to ensure compliance, Parliament developed quarterly reporting guidelines to assist line ministries with the content and structure of the reports.

“Parliament plays a crucial role in plugging leakages which are continuously haemorrhaging this economy. Our legislative role requires us to be innovative and push for laws that address the challenge of leakages in revenue, corruption and maladministration in the public sector,” he noted.

Source : NewsDay

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