The Budget and Finance Committee of parliament says public expenditure controls are not working a development that raises fears that theft of public resources may be happening in the civil service.
The committee which does an oversight role of the national budget implementation and the tracking of public finance management issues is hence faulting government for unnecessary delays to procure new Integrated Finance Management Information System (IFMIS) software to help control theft of government resources.
The committee is worried that government has since 2014 been failing to move with speed to procure the new IFMIS which is believed to be outdated and as a result financial management in most public sector ministries and departments is being compromised.
The committees’ Chairperson Rhino Chiphiko tells Capital FM that the financial management controls are falling off so much that some government ministries, departments and agencies are not doing bank reconciliations and have resorted into manual financial transactions.
Chiphiko says manual financial transactions are prone to abuse since they are at the discretion of government accountants and controlling officers who have been in the system since cash gate scandal.
“The controls are falling off such that there is a build-up of bank reconciliations, most of the ministries and departments are not doing bank reconciliations and it appears that we are getting back to weaker controls as it were three or four years ago.
My gut feeling is that financial management issues are being exacerbated; you should know that the IFMIS system is not working as such it is still porous dating back to days of cash-gate scandal, so you cannot expect financial prudence,” said Chiphiko.
However Ministry of Finance Economic Planning and Development Spokesperson Davies Sado reserved a comment on the matter saying the ministry will issue a comprehensive statement soon about the status of IFMIS and expenditure controls.
However the 2018/2019 national budget has MK5 billion allocation for the procurement of the new IFMIS to replace the old one Epicor 7 which has been prone to abuse.
I am of the view that coming from the era of cash-gate if this government was serious we could by now have the new IFMIS system in place, there have been a lot of huge government expenditure on other things but it appears government is not interested on IFMIS procurement as such the situation is getting worse”, said Chiphiko.
He faults government authorities for not showing political will to procure the new IFMIS saying four years that the current administration has been in power the new IFMIS could have been procured and installed to instill public financial prudence.