Friday, June 14, 2024

Adhere to the Public Finance Act and the Public procurement law to reduce audit queries-Mwambazi

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Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chairperson Warren Mwambazi has challenged public officers to adhere to the Public Finance Act and the Public procurement law to reduce audit queries that are highlighted in the Auditor General’s report annually.

Mr. Mwambazi, the Bwana Mkubwa Member of Parliament, said controlling officers such as permanent secretaries that are involved in public procurement must be accountable when using public resources.

He said public resources must be utilised well for the benefit of the Zambian people.

“For us to reduce the volume of the audit queries in the auditor general’s report that entails that we become more serious with how we carry ourselves as government workers, as civil servants as controlling officers. We follow the public finance act number 1 of 2018 and the entirety of what it requires us to do. Then we are going to reduce queries in the auditor general’s report. We should desist from business as usual as government workers, as permanent secretaries. You see when we are doing procurement, when we are doing all these things we are privileged people because 18 million plus Zambians choose you as permanent secretary, it is a privilege but you need to be accountable because when you come to the Public Accounts Committee we won’t spare you. We will ensure that you are accountable. When people are accountable there is good governance, service delivery to the Zambian people so that can only be achieved through seriousness and treating government matters as serious matters to that effect then that way you will ensure that there is accountability, there is good governance and there is service delivery to the Zambian people,” Mr. Mwambazi said.

“That is what will reduce audit; follow the public procurement act number 8 of 2020 when you are doing procurement on behalf of the government. So these are some of the aspects and issues we need to implement as hard as they look, there are no shortcuts but when you are more accountable the country develops, when you are more accountable you have medicine in hospitals, when you are more accountable schools are built, when you are more accountable bridges are will be built, when you are more accountable there is proper distribution even implementation of issues like Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects. So these are some of the issues we keep on emphasizing even to controlling officers as they appear before our committee. Let us be serious, we only have one country and our role as public accounts committee is to provide oversight to the executive to ensure that they are more accountable to the people. That is our mandate. Apart from that adherence to these pieces of legislation I have talked about. Act to ensure that we bring accountability,” he told Radio Icengelo News in Ndola.

Mr. Mwambazi said that public officers should not be influenced to make wrong financial decisions by politicians.

“Ministers are policy makers they do not sign anywhere in procurement and they don’t even force anyone to sign anywhere. The Permanent Secretary is the owner of the Ministry, he or she is the controlling officer. He is the CEO so even if your boss (minister) tells you to do wrong things you say this I cannot do, it is against the law, certain regulation and guided.The controlling officers should resist interference from politicians in fact some have resisted before. So that is a lame excuse to say I was forced to do things. We don’t even entertain one saying I was told by my minister, how can you be told to sign? Tell him to raise and sign for him to see where it will go because the minister has no power to sign anything,” he said.

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