The Green Party is alarmed by escalating delinquency on finance control and management regulations by Government.
Reacting to a press query to comment on the latest exposé of the sale of Kalingalinga Police Station, the Greens leader Peter Sinkamba said time is running out for President Edgar Lungu to get on top of things as the Head of State to arrest the situation.
“Our country has laws and regulations intended to curb financial delinquency in government. In particular, we have the Public Finance Management Act of 2018. We also have Finance (Control and Management) (Public Stores) Regulations. The two laws set the legislative requirements to provide for the control and management of the public finances of the Republic of Zambia. Sections 42 to 47 of the Public Finance Management Act and Regulations 104 and 105 of Finance (Control and Management) (Public Stores) Regulations provide the framework for disposal of Government assets by government agencies which must be comply with, including treasury Instructions. As Head of State, President Lungu should be on top of things and bring the delinquency into control because time is running out for him,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
“Going by the recent disposal of Government assets such as NRDC, Chimbokaila Prison and Jacaranda Basic School, Kalingalinga Police Station, and several others which the public is not privy to, it is abundantly clear that the sale of these assets is not being carried out in accordance with the said laws. Furthermore, they are not being accrued out with an outcome of achieving the best net return when selling. Disposal dealings are not being undertaken in an efficient, fair, transparent and accountable manner prescribed by law. Put simply, the sales can be summed up as acute financial delinquency,” he added.
He said accounting procedures when disposing Government assets must be carried out in accordance with the statutes and treasury Instructions and added that disposal recommendations, with reasons for disposal, must be documented.
“It appears there is no documented policy which Government is following. Proper record keeping is also questionable. Policy and proper record keeping not only does assist for auditing and other examinations purposes, but also highlights successes and issues for future references. However, our colleagues in PF Government do not respect these transparency and coherence processes hence all transactions of assets reviewed so far are unfair, obscure, and done in an unaccountable manner,” he said.
He said assets to be disposed via sale must be based on reserve value that reflects fair market value for each item.
“The sale price established should be based on the condition of the goods or assets and their current market value. Assets must be disposed at the best available net value. Officers need to ensure that disposal of assets is undertaken with probity: that is, ethically, honestly and with fairness to all participants; and to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. However, this is a pipe-dream in PF Government,” he added.
He said asset disposal should be conducted in an efficient and accountable manner.
“Valuation plays an important part in the effective and efficient disposal of goods. It provides an important reference point which assists in the recommendation as well the approval of the most appropriate disposal option.
“In fact, technical experts selected as the member of the Board of Survey should have or obtain sufficient technical knowledge to place a value on items identified for disposal. The most accurate determination of value is always what the competitive market is prepared to pay. In addition to this, there must be a number of agents, usually external),who identify, mark, and record all Government property promptly upon receipt, except as may be exempted by statute, and should remain so identified so long as they remain in the custody, possession, or control of Board of Survey. Assigned Government property identification numbers must be recorded on all applicable receiving documents, disposal documents, and any other documents pertaining to the property control system. Such markings should only be removed or obliterated from the property involved after disposal,” he said.
He said upon submission and consideration of the recommendations of the Board of Survey Report, the Permanent Secretary for Finance or Secretary to the Treasury may authorize the Permanent Secretary of that ministry or department to dispose of that asset by sale or exchange or transfer to any other agency, state institution or whatever the case may be.
“Where the assets are found to be obsolete or redundant, the Permanent Secretary for Finance or Secretary to Treasury may direct a sale. However, the sale of any government asset ought to be by auction or public tender. This is not the case,” Mr. Sinkamba said.