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Transparency & Accountability is a key component in Governance & Leadership

11 Dec 2019 at 16:38hrs | Views
One of the pre-requisite of good governance in leadership and development is transparency and accountability which boosts confidence and investor's interests. In short, since the departure of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe has witnessed rampant corruption in all critical sectors of the economy, and this is a clear sign and admission of failure on Governance. The few remaining potential investors will only adhere to our issues once we stick to the rules of accountability and transparency. The only trump card we can use for re-engagement on international platforms is a clean sheet of accountability of an every single dollar which belongs to the tax payers. I have few fundamental aspects which I feel the Government of Zimbabwe is obliged to when dealing with State funds and resources. It is the duty and obligation of those in charge of the instruments of power and state resources to show remorse and principality when dealing with tax payer's money and resources belonging to the state. Since the expulsion of Zimbabwe from common wealth and other world bodies we have never recovered economically, and most of these international partners and creditors have given a lifeline of transparency and accountability as a measuring tool for re-admission. My question is simple, how do we run a successful economic recovery plan without the involvement of development partners who can contribute Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?

5.9 Billion Which went missing for Command Agriculture

I went through the budget statement and Muthuli's presentation in Parliament today, he never uttered anything about the 5.9 billion which went missing. Surprisingly, not even a single legislator from the opposition spoke about this delicate issue? Opposition is supposed to be providing checks and balance to the Government by promoting transparency and accountability. 5.9 billion Is a huge amount which could buy grain for the next 10-15 years and put some in reserves? As we speak, we have grain that can last for the next two months. More than 4.1 million is facing starvation. In the past food security was a serious concern in rural areas, but presently, more than 3 million people are facing starvation in urban areas. Half of the population in urban areas is surviving on less than 0.50 cents (USD) a day. My simple question is where did the 5.9 billion go? What happened to the 5.9 billion? According to Ministry officials from Agriculture and Finance, when they appeared before the parliamentary committee chaired by Harare lawmaker Tendai Biti, there was no single invoice or voucher of the prescribed amount. This is why we have a difficult problem of economic recovery because of people who loot national resources which they have not worked for. Sakunda Holdings was given 5.9 billion backdated from 2017 after the military coup to date, according to the Auditor General report, and there was no single invoice or voucher for the amount. How then do we expect investments to flow to Zimbabwe when we have such a scenario where public funds disappear without trace?

Under Funding the Auditor General Office

I was following live parliamentary debates when Muthuli Ncube was defending his budget statements after some few adjustments. Legislators from both parties, Zanu PF and MDC Alliance, together with independent legislator Temba Mliswa questioned Muthuli Ncube why the auditor General office is receiving 0.01% of the budget, and yet according to law or even in comparison of other countries, the office of the Auditor General is supposedly to receive 1% of the total budget for funding so that they can be able to fulfil their duties and obligations. The question from William Madzimure directed to Finance Minister, whether it is a deliberate ploy by the Minister to under-fund the office of the Auditor General as acts of sabotage or lack of resources?

No explanation on the 2% tax returns
Since the collection of the two percent from citizens, there is no adequate report about how much was collected from citizens, how much was re-directed to the mainstream economy? The breakdown of the critical analysis breakdown of the critical path? Breakdown of the income and expenditure pertaining to the tax and its obligations. This has not been despite approaching 2020. In actual terms, the budget statement did not acknowledge the receipt of the two percent revenue collections, this was simply done in bracket terms, in a mere statement and no proper breakdown and other ground rules of finance. I remember very well, Finance Minister during his mid-term review policy, he mentioned about cutting expenditure of the executive, on their salaries and allowances, from that amble time he has never come back to parliament to give a report on how much was raised from the executive and ministers after cutting expenditure and allowances from the executive.

Monthly, quarterly and annual reports are important

How do we work in an environment where there is no reporting particularly when millions of state funds are being abused with individuals? Parliament should not even ask for these reports, it is the duty of the minister to report back to the nation on how state funds were used during the 2018/19 season. We have ministries that were allocated state funds meant for development, road projects, devolution, farming equipment etc, and there is never a single report regarding to that effect. Today he spoke of resources for census which he said will be mobilized from somewhere? I was utterly shocked when the finance minister said we will mobilize 85 million from somewhere? Is the finance portfolio his personal entity or account to an extent that you will simply tell the whole nation that we are mobilizing the resources somewhere without telling the nation clearly where those funds are coming from? Under what terms? Under which conditions? How did he arrive at 85 million? Opposition MPs were quiet when this blanket statement was made in parliament today. In actual terms, 85 million is a huge figure and it is supposedly to go through parliament for approval under the consolidated revenue fund (CRF).

Public Accounts Committee

This is one of the committees doing exceptionally well in Parliament. There must be a round of applause for Tendai Biti, Madzimure and others on this one. They have managed to grill public officials on public funds which were diverted for personal use. There was an attempt to dissolve this committee under the pretext that it was undermining the rules of the standing orders and rules for parliament on legitimacy issues. This actually came after opposition MPs refused to stand for President Mnangagwa in Parliament. I'm for the idea that this committee must be well oiled with resources so that it works closely with the Auditor General's office and anti-corruption so that they will bring sanity in public institutions. Most public officials have been absconding after realizing that Biti is a hard liner in finance matters and they were not prepared to face the former finance minister, and they were forced to give excuses.

Grabbing of mines and farms around the country

It is disturbing to note that there are several reports with the regards to grabbing of mines and farms around the country, particularly Midlands, Mash central and other parts of Mash west. Whilst I may agree to the one man one farm policy, it is not ideal to use force acquire state land. We have the Mugabes, controlling over 13 farms around the country, but this must be done properly. We easily scare the potential investors who may be willing to partner with Zimbabwe in critical sectors of the economy. These farms were supposed to be gazette using an act of parliament, and the minister of agriculture was supposed to give a detailed report on the acquisition of farms which were grabbed by Mugabe family. Impeccable sources clearly indicate that several mines have been invaded countrywide using the militia group popularly known as the "mashurugwis" which have become a security threat to national stability. What is surprisingly is that not even a single statement has been issued regarding to the effect. My question is how do we widen the tax base in these critical sectors of the economy such as mines and agriculture when mines and farms are being grabbed?

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo (PhD Candidate in Development studies) writes in his personal capacity as the Director of Global Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (GIPAR), which is responsible for Policy and Research. He is also a leading consultant in Project Management. He also holds a B.A from Solusi University, MA from University of Lusaka, Zambia and Post-Grad from University of Zimbabwe.

Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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