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Treasury boss grilled over unbudgeted expenditure

by Staff reporter
29 Jan 2019 at 08:28hrs | Views
Finance ministry secretary George Guvamatanga was yesterday grilled by Parliament for Treasury's failure to disclose unbudgeted expenditure and debt contraction in contravention of the Public Debt Management Act and Public Management Act.

Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee Tendai Biti, who served as Finance minister in the Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013, quizzed Guvamatanga as to why his ministry had failed to account for loans contracted by government.

Biti said government was overspending and the Finance ministry had failed to present supplementary budget proposals before Parliament.

"This issue goes to the fundamental good of parliamentary oversight over government expenditure. We, as parliamentarians, approve the budget, then the government overspends as it has been doing for the past five years. Then it does not bother to come to us to say 'I have overspent, here is a supplementary budget and I am seeking condonation'. This goes to the issue that we are wasting our time each time by approving budgets because you guys are going to overspend. Then cynically, you guys don't come to us. Why is the Ministry of Finance not coming to Parliament with a Bill for condonation?" Biti asked.

Zimbabwe's public debt was in the region of $17 billion, as of August last year according to Treasury data.

Guvamatanga assumed his current position from William Manungo in September last year.

He appeared before the committee with the accountant-general Daniel Muchemwa and his deputy, Edwin Zvandasara.

"At the moment, we are compiling and checking and preparing a schedule and cross-checking, so I have a full team working on all those issues and loans
that have been contracted to make sure that they are presented to Parliament," Guvamatanga told the committee.

"The point you have raised to say why it was not done is an important point, but I chose to make it done honourables."
Muchemwa was also questioned for failure by Treasury to produce quarterly consolidated financial statements and issuing warrants of expenditure during the past three years of his tenure.

Source - newsday