By Antonio Mwanza
There are growing levels of suspicion, lies, and misinformation about the safety and accountability of Covid-19 donations. Some individuals and publications have gone on a rampage accusing Government and innocent people of looting Covid-19 donations.
The truth, however, is that Government has put very stringent measures to ensure transparency and accountability in the receiving and disposing of all Covid-19 donations.
According to the Public Finance Management Act (2018), all donations given to the Government constitute public resources and must be accounted for accordingly.
All donations towards the Covid-19 pandemic are subject to the following statutory provisions which Government is strictly adhering to as guided by the Ministry of Finance:
- Government has opened bank accounts with 16 banks specifically for purposes of Covid-19 donations.
- All monetary donations are deposited directly into the GRZ Covid-19 Accounts. No cash is allowed; all the monetary donations are deposited in the banks, not even a single coin is given in cash to any single individual.
- Once deposited, the funds are transferred to the Bank of Zambia and are managed by the National Treasury.
- All Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies are compelled by law to ensure that all Covid-19 related funds being received from the Treasury are charged on appropriate budget lines in accordance with treasury guidelines.
- All expenditure related to COVID-19 activities in Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies are made by Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to ensure transparency and strict accountability.
- All Covid-19 donations are subjected to stringent internal audit processes as prescribed by the law.
- All Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies submit income and expenditure returns on all COVID-19 funds received from the Treasury by 5th of every month to the Office of the Accountant General in accordance with Section 11(1) (p) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2018.
- In the case of Aid-In-Kind, Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies receive and dispose such through the procedures stipulated in the law. In view of this, Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies are compelled to submit monthly returns on all Aid-In-Kind transactions to the Office of the Accountant General, Ministry of Finance.
- All recipient Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies have separate records and reports on the utilisation of donations from Cooperating Partners to ensure strict and higher levels of accountability and transparency.
- All donations towards COVID-19 are strictly used for the stipulated purpose, nothing, not money or material goods are permitted to be used for any other purposes other than Covid-19 related purposes.
- The Treasury periodically submits a consolidated return of receipts and expenditure from Ministries, Provinces and Public Service Controlling Agencies to the Controller of Internal Audit and Office of the Auditor General for verification.
In conclusion, we would like to sincerely thank all those that have donated towards the fight against Covid-19. Your generosity is going a long way in alleviating the numerous and enormous challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic is posing.
We wish to encourage others to emulate the kind gestures of generosity shown this far.
To our frontline staff, we can never be thankful enough for your sacrifice and bravery in providing your invaluable service to serve others.
Finally, we would like to encourage everyone to stay at home and adhere to the preventative measures and directives as spelt by Government.
Together we shall overcome Covid-19.
One Zambia, One Nation.