Government outlaws cheque payments to its suppliers of goods and services

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Government Accountant General Dr. Dick Chellah Sichembe
Government Accountant General Dr. Dick Chellah Sichembe

Government Accountant General Dr. Dick Chellah Sichembe has said the Ministry of Finance will no longer make Treasury Single Account payments to suppliers of goods and services who turn-up with manually generated purchase orders.

Dr. Sichembe stated that with effect from January 2018, manually generated LOCAL PURCHASE ORDERS (LPO’s) – that are handwritten – will not be entertained for TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT (TSA) payments at the Ministry of Finance.

“We are in a computer age, therefore, manually generated LPO’s will be rendered invalid,” said the Accountant General, adding that “henceforth, suppliers of goods and services to the Government will be expected ensure that they collect Electronically Generated Local Purchase Orders [LPO’s] from client Ministries and other Government Spending Agencies before seeking payments from the Ministry of Finance.”

Dr. Sichembe stated this in a notice that has been issued to all Ministries and Government Spending Agencies for onward communication to Suppliers of Goods and Services.

The Ministry of Finance has been implementing the Treasury Single Account System from 5th January, 2015, to date.

The Treasury Single Account (TSA) is an electronic payment system that aims to ensure that payments for goods and services are transferred electronically to the beneficiary’s bank account. Effectively, this system has negated the cheque payment system.

Dr. Sichembe has also clarified that all procurement processes and procedures will continue to be done by the respective Ministries and other Spending Agencies seeking a good or service.

He said that in this process, “the Treasury is only responsible for transmitting the payments on behalf of all Ministries and other Government Spending Agencies that are installed with an IFMIS interface.”

The Ministry of Finance is also working with the Zambia Revenue Authority to ensure that all suppliers and goods and services to the Government have Bank Accounts and TPIN’s.

Going forward, the Directorate of Treasury Services in the Ministry through respective Ministries and other Government Spending Agencies, will be running help desks to ensure that suppliers of goods and services are effectively sensitized on the electronic payment system in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the handling, management, and administration of public resources.

“I will also detail all accounting staff in the Government to be on the look-out and ensure that this new system succeeds by not passing any payment which is based on manually generated LPO’s,” stated Dr. Sichembe.

This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance Public Relations Officer Chileshe Kandeta.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe also make usre before you give an order to a supplier, she/he has to be in good books with ZRA. My case example, i supply some service to FRA and when i expect money..am told ZRA will hold my money coz i have un cleared balances…now how do i manage to sustain my business. let me hear someone ati nyonyo..u shud pay taxes…. ivuta……..in ndalama nyoko? let them withold the current tax on the invoice and let us fight with ZRA on other payments. very soon we shall stop supplying to govt agencies coz of this rule so that you continue buying expensive things from the nice tax payers

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    • No, this is “transparency and accountability” as the good Dr. has said! Infact this system has the potential to curtail the very CORRUPTION and MISAPPLICATION of funds everyone cries about. Sometimes we just need to appreciate the efforts Govt is making in trying to make sure your resources/taxes are protected and spent wisely. What the h#ll is wrong with that???

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  2. Good idea but why has it taken since 2015 to implement. Looks like sme’s might be overlooked here because of the way the can operate.
    Again IMF will be happy because greater tax net now.

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  3. It’s encouraging for once to see that the Accountant General is not as old as most Government employees who are over due on retirement. We have a lot of old people in government that needs shedding. A lot of fresh blood is graduating from Universities and have no jobs because of the old people who don’t want to leave.

    Nonetheless, Government should’ve gone electronic in their business by now. I went to UTH last time the guy didn’t even give me a receipt, so I only gave him 90% of the money of course he pocketed the money.

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    • Bwana lombe am not a government employee but am wondering which ministry you are talking about with a lot of old people. Most ministries have average aged people and that could be the problem why most ministries are corrupt. Our generation I’d Courage’s and want fast money.

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    • Lombe (MA),

      I am not in the civil service but I do a lot of consultancy work with government. The majority of the current generation of civil servants are relatively, young college and university educated, in their late thirties to late forties. The older generation you are gratuitously vilifying are a very tiny minority and most them are less corrupt and very committed to their jobs than the younger generation of civil servants who are always looking for a fast buck. Quite often, the younger ones expect a cut from any consultancy you do even if they haven’t contributed anything to it. Are these the people you want to run our civil service?

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  4. What makes him think that an Electronically Generated Local Purchase Orders [LPO’s] will not be bogus? He is making assumptions here that the electronic documents will not be forged,this is a fallacy. Whether manual or electronic fraud will always take place ,it is the integrity of the people involved that will protect the public resources.

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    • You are absolutely right, any system of internal control can only be as good as the people who operate it. That is why there is need to scrutinize all job applicants and follow up on references.

      But, the Zambian system is rotten to the core. And, to quote the Japanese, “a fish always rots from the head.” It says a lot, doesn’t it?

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    • @Alibaba, no system of this nature, anywhere in the world, is FRAUD PROOF! Not even systems you have in the so called “advanced” Countries/economies. If they were, we wouldn’t have cases of fraud in these Countries. But we do even here. The important thing about such systems though is that they tend to significantly reduce cases of fraud and receipt manipulations where most of the pilfering occurs. With this system in place, people have to LOGON to the system to do anything and therefore all if their activities captured. So there is a likelihood that ACCOUNTABILITY would be high using such a system. No more cases of “missing records” or “selective amnesia” as to who issued what LPO, when, and for what. Let us just hope it works!

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  5. The old way of doing business is over.No hangovers.
    Let’s all move orderly to the new dispensation .

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  6. Not convincing enough..go back and come back with a better system. How can you do business with a company that never pays tax in the first place!!

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