Government will soon amend the Public Finance Management Act with the Bill for this amendment having already gone through the First Reading, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has said.
The amendment seeks to empower the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to take disciplinary measures against accounting officers of ministries and State bodies that continuously fail to respond and address issues raised by the Auditor General’s Report or persistently fail to produce audited statements.
Mthuli made the revelation while responding to a query from the report of the Public Accounts Committee.
“Treasury is currently working on the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act to address these issues. The fact that the Public Accounts Committee has raised this issue, I am now working with the Accounting Generals., I am sure there will be a very robust and constructive debate. There are items 5.8.1, 6.8.2, 5.8.4, 6.8.6, which I will relate to and they pertain again to the issue of direct payments,” he said.
The committee also queried why the Ministry of Finance and Economic Developing, as an allocating officer who made disbursements to line ministries was making direct payments and purchases on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture for Command Agriculture implements, saying this should be stopped with immediate effect.
“Ncube, however, said direct payments only applied to payments in foreign currency, noting that the direct payment was just to hand the foreign currency element to suppliers upon the request by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The same amount in local currency is accounted for through the disbursements to the Ministry, so we match that foreign currency amount that would have been paid directly on behalf of the Ministry with the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent which would be coming out of their budget allocation,” he said.
He also noted that the Ministry had since suspended direct payments and set offs, saying this would put an end to further anomalies in the future.
“Going forward, we have suspended this and this is a thing of the past. This was in 2017 before we put in the new rules as the new dispensation, “he said
Ncube said his Ministry would follow through all the commitments it had made, adding they had already started to act on the recommendations of the committee.
“I have mentioned things that we have already stopped to make sure those things are done properly and enough information is given. There is transparency as required by the dictates of the Public Accounts Committee which actually is a partner Committee to what we do as Treasury and as Government,” said.