According to the Auditor General Mildred Chiri, the government’s accounting books are in shambles, the Zimbabwe Independent reports. The government reportedly has no balance sheet and that makes accountability for its assets almost impossible while some government workers are being promoted without the pre-requisite qualifications.
Chiri said this while she was making a presentation at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Zimbabwe (Icsaz) Winter School on Public Finance Management (PFM) in Harare last week.
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Chiri reportedly said:
It’s not safe to use this system. We always insist that there is an asset register to ensure that there is value and that these assets do not disappear without being accounted for. Yes, assets are recorded, but because we do not have something like a balance sheet, we cannot really see what government possesses as assets,
Pay sheets were not being reconciled with payments from the Salary Services Bureau. This is an area which we will be looking at in 2020 to see whether there have been improvements. There have also been tendencies across ministries to continue to obtain goods and services when they did not have adequate funds from Treasury. Unsupported expenditure has led to accumulation of debts
Chiri also said apart from the accounting problems they were facing, the government was also promoting people with no professional qualifications:
One of the other interventions besides implementation of the correct accounting methods, would be professionalising the public sector. Some of the people who have been through ranking government have no professional qualifications. This was a recommendation by the World Bank that the government should professionalise the sector. Icaz (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe) and Icsaz have also taken up this offer along with other organisations, so we hope to see an improvement in that area.
This is not the first time Chiri has made similar claims. Her audit report of the government’s departments last year touched a storm as it unearthed gross levels of funds mismanagement and erroneous accounting practices that made her task and that of her team difficult.
More: Zimbabwe Independent