Pac Keen to Achieve Zero-Audit Queries

THE Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed concern that over 1000 audit queries involving more than K5.8 billion in unaccounted for public funds highlighted in the Auditor General’s report for the last three years have remain unresolved.

PAC chairperson Vincent Mwale said it was sad that while the majority of Zambians were struggling, a few people continued enriching themselves using public funds.

“It is not healthy that some people are enriching themselves as individuals using public resources but others like the people of Chipangali Constituency have to walk more than 25 kilometres due to inadequate funds to drill boreholes,” he said.

Mr Mwale has since pledged his committee’s determination to achieve zero-audit query for all public finances by 2016.

He said that the committee was determined to get rid of poor public financial management and achieve zero-audit queries by 2016.

He said this at the launch of the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) report at Lusaka’s Pamodzi Hotel yesterday.

“We want zero-audit queries by 2016, we will not relent or backpedal. We do not want to see people abusing public funds,” he said.

He said the PAC would continue to work hard and ensure accountability in the management of public funds.

He commended PMRC for the analysis of the Auditor General’s report saying the information would go a long way in assisting the PAC in carrying out its mandate.

Mr Mwale said his committee would use the PMRC analysis report to research and build capacity, identify the root causes of financial mismanagement, compare between ministries and to obtain additional mechanisms to track change.

Earlier PMRC research and analysis officer, Alex Armitage urged Government to reform public resource management and address the misuse of public funds.

She said the analysis of the Auditor General’s report revealed a continued increase in the abuse of public expenditure.

She said the total available funds queries for Government listed in the Auditor General’s report increased from 11 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2012 peaking at 18 percent in 2011.

Analysis of the top five queries revealed issues of unvouched expenditure, weak procurement or contract work, resource use and implementation time of infrastructure, concealed expenditure wrongdoings and below target quality.

She urged Government to review the appointment methods and movement of permanent secretaries to avoid unnecessary transfers to ensure sufficient financial and management training.

“Government should also identify appropriate mechanisms to monitor and review the implementation of recommendations and actions stipulated by the PAC,” Ms Armitage said.

PMRC executive director Michelle Morel urged the media to play an active role to assist improve and strengthen the management of public resources.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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