Despite Treasury effecting an expenditure control system to curb reckless spending of public funds, some government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) continue to shun the directive.
The new system, which rolled out at the start of the 2018/19 financial year, demands MDAs to produce consolidated monthly expenditure commitments in a move towards making operational commitment controls in the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis)—a government electronic payment platform.
However, figures compiled by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development show that most MDAs are not producing consolidated monthly expenditure commitments.
The consolidated commitments report for July and August, posted on the ministry’s website, shows three and six MDAs, respectively, submitted their expenditure.
The report shows that in July the Directorate of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, Department of Accountant General and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) submitted their expenditure commitments.
In August, Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), State Advocate, Directorate of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, Department of Accountant General and ACB submitted their expenditure commitments.
Reacting on the development, economic commentator Gilbert Kachamba said it is clear that the MDAs are not serious with financial prudency.
He said: “Failure to adhere to the laid down procedures is a sign that MDAs are creating room for Cashgate and all sorts of embezzlement.”
Over time MDAs have been reported to obtain goods and services from companies without indicating in their books, making government commit over and above their approved allocation.
The new system was put into effect amid revelations of abuse of public resources and over expenditure by MDAs as outlined in an audit report on Malawi Government Accounts for the previous financial year.
The report showed that Roads Fund Administration, State House residences, Office of the President and Cabinet, Malawi Revenue Authority and Accountant General among others, collectively over spent their allocations by K23.1 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament chairperson Rhino Chiphiko yesterday expressed worry with MDA’s failing to adhere to the directive.
He said: “There is a very big problem with regards to tracking of expenditures. The whole system has fallen apart and probably this could be one of the reasons why development partners do not want to resume budget support to the country because there is lack of prudence,” he said. n