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Govt is crippling local authorities

by Stephen Jakes
10 Dec 2023 at 13:09hrs | Views
The government has been accused of crippling the local authorities' operations on conditions that are run by the opposition.

This was revealed recently by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development in its recent analysis of the Auditor General Report.

Zimcodd said the 2022 AG's Office must be afforded maximum statutory independence, unlimited access to relevant information.

Zimcodd said most of the LAs had modified audit opinions (25% qualified and 67% adverse) for the audited years (2018-2022) which were mainly due to non-compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards and International Financial Reporting Standards.

"Most findings in LAs continue to be in respect of financial mismanagement, non-compliance with international accounting standards and laws and regulations, untaxed benefits, lack of adequate controls over contract management and management of stands sales, and poor service delivery," it said.

It noted that for instance, Bindura Municipality received about ZWL$34.2 million.

"However, ZWL$7.7 million was used for salaries and ZWL$19.2 million was invested at the expense of undertaking development projects. Governance issues dominated audit findings as they increased from 91 issues in 2021 to 139 in 2022," it said.

Governance issues have remained high in all reports submitted over the last five years.

There was a sharp increase in revenue collection and debt recovery issues from 11 to 101 between 2021 and 2022 as a result of weak internal controls in revenue collection and debt recovery.

Zimcodd said the number of reported procurement issues increased from 11 in 2021 to 41 in 2022, an indication of weakening procurement management systems and non-compliance with procurement laws and regulations by LAs.

It said the OAG reported 64 issues concerning the mismanagement of assets and for instance, Kadoma City Council lost 800 bags of cement as a result of solidification and inventory and equipment worth US$33 000 to theft.

"Service delivery issues have also been rising over the years. The OAG reported 33 issues in 2021 and 41 issues in 2022. The existing infrastructure in LAs is lagging to meet the growing demand for services," Zimcodd said.

"There are backlogs in both the construction of new infrastructure and maintenance of the existing facilities. A slight improvement was noted in employment issues as they reduced from 26 to 25 findings between 2021 and 2022."

Source - Byo24News