As the Zambia National Students Union(ZANASU), as youths we are very annoyed and express our sincere disappointment at the revelations in the Auditors General’s Report of 2015. We believe that this exercise is a sheer waste of time and money which means a waste of tax payers money because it continues to serve no purpose. We have continued to conduct national audits as a country which have had little or no bearing except being merely an academic exercise.
This is a classic example of a breach of trust on the part of govt. We see this year’s report as a clear scandal and an indictment on the PF govt to act quickly least we face a serious financial budget crisis emanating from a lack of trust from the lending community like IMF.
We can’t be talking about less harsh conditions from IMF with such levels of recklessness and gross financial indiscipline. If the promises of the President in the just ended elections to the people are to materialize, serious forethought and discipline – Fiscal and Financial – need to be in place.
It is disheartening and disgusting to say the least for us to continue borrowing money and yet lose it to a few through public theft. Honestly, Irregular Payments have jumped from K26M to K115M, even while our high learning institutions are limping on a thread of financial uncertainty. We strongly feel that Zambians are sick and tired of these reports that lack a sense of punitive measures taken by govt.
It is common sense that this signals a lack of accountability and transparency. What any ordinary Zambian will see from this is that even the current borrowing we want to engage in, is clearly borrowing to enrich a few individuals. Students at CBU are almost taking to the streets over allowances while a few individuals steal from National cofers without mention.
We are of the view that since the Auditor General’s Report is submitted to the President for tabling in National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of article 121 of the constitution of Zambia, we call upon the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to develop teeth to bite. An AGR must be a document that shows how government officers conducted their expenditures, controlling officers clarify and take corrective action on the findings of these audits.
The report includes Missing payment vouchers, Unsupported payments, Unapproved payment vouchers, Failure to provide expenditure details, Failure to remit statutory contributions, Irregularities in payment of salaries and allowances, Failure to surcharge Erring officers, Missing payment vouchers, Failure to remit tax, Failure to commerce works, Weaknesses in the management of bank accounts, Unsupported payments,l Unaccounted payments, Unaccounted for revenue and Misappropriation of funds.
We have observed that in the 2015,auditor general’s report is that many development projects in spite of some funds being available in many cases where not implemented. For what use are good plans and policies if they are not being implemented? A lot of work goes to planning but unfortunately implementation is what we lack. Moving from activity based assessment to result based assessment is what the government should embark on.
We are alive to the fact that just next door here in Uganda they also just completed their audit and govt through its Public Accounts Committee has requested erring firms to pay back to a tune of 47Billion Shillings. If govt doesn’t move in the next likely step is that the cooperating partners will individually request refunds of wrongfully spent funds, in accordance with bilateral agreements and the share of cooperating partners’ individual contributions.
In China and some other Asia countries, the penalty for convicted corrupt officials is death by hanging. France once upon a time used that approach. Ghana once executed all corrupt officials before their economy could make sense. Today Ghana Cedi has far greater worth than the Kwacha, Pula and Naira. Unless these corrupt people are packed like sardines inside one prison a for minimum of ten years with all their money stripped from them we may never live well in this country.
How do we attract investment because good laws means good business – in any market. At its core, a society based on the rule of law is one in which all actors including governments, business and individuals are equally accountable to clear and predictable laws. While the Auditor General’s report on spending highlights the point at home, there are daily reminders around the globe – Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the South China Sea, Bangladesh, U.S. law enforcement, the FIFA boardroom – that significant work still needs to be done here in Zambia.
Responsible governance of the country’s resources begins with those who control the purse strings and set the priorities for expenditure, unlike failing to reconcile with reasons why Zambia should be borrowing on shylock’s terms only to still pour that money down the drain.
We want to take this opportunity to warn the opposition UPND in particular that elections are over, now Zambians expect them to concentrate on things that matter to them, instead of parading themselves on news saying they don’t recognise the Republican President, Zambians want them to be relevant by strongly coming out on this report and providing the much needed checks and balances. They owe Zambians that and not carry on a culture of cynicism and lack of interest in what matters to the people.
OUR appeal goes to the President to rescue us from the quicksand of debt and employ well considered solutions and stimulus packages. We need a clearly articulated map of how this document will not end up on the shelves but the President must personally deal with these thieves because Zambians have entrusted him with that responsibility to which he swore oath.
In conclusion, it is our hope that when suspicions of fraudulent activities occur in our expenditures especially that our spending is highly externally funded under programs funded by the tax-payers of donor countries, it is of outmost importance that they are followed-up and acted upon. It is highly presumptuous of the custodians of our resources to keep borrowing without a conceivable return and commitment against plunder. It is time to stop the borrowing for consumption and get on with the work of truly fuelling and powering all engines in the economy and not sit back and allow our country to be an extension of a mining company’s balance sheet.
LONG LIVE ZANASU!
THANK YOU, AT STUDENTS SERVICE.
GOD BLESS OUR GREAT NATION ZAMBIA!
By PRINCE J. NDOYI
Outgoing ZANASU V. PRESIDEN
Download 2015 Report Here