Treasury says it will in the next two weeks start hunting and make appropriate recommendations on government departments that do not comply with its requirement to submit monthly expenditure reports.
Ministry of Finance spokesperson Nations Msowoya, in an interview on Tuesday, admitted that Treasury was honouring funding requests from ministries and departments that did not submit reports outlining how money was spent during the previous month, bank reconciliations, revenue and number of employees on payroll.
But Msowoya said in the interest of the welfare of the people, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has resolved to pursue all the government’s 49 votes (departments) receiving funding from Treasury.
He said this has been done to ensure compliance and efficiency in reporting systems.
Said Msowoya: “The ministry has a fully fledged budget monitoring section which is mandated to follow up on these reports, analyse them and make recommendations on whether funding can be done.
“Currently, we have not done an analysis of which departments have complied, but we should be able to have that information in the course of the next two weeks.”
On why Treasury funded district health offices (DHOs), which did not submit expenditure returns, he said: “The Ministry of Health was given special consideration because of the nature of their activities and secondly because the new requirements had just been announced.”
But Msowoya insisted that non-compliance by controlling officers in the councils on submission of expenditure reports was the main cause for the hitch.
Treasury is enforcing Section 84 (3) of the Public Finance Management Act of 2003 which requires controlling officers to submit the reports within 14 days from the end of the month or risk not being funded.
On Tuesday, The Nation reported that Treasury is yet to release funding for the country’s 28 district councils for other recurrent transactions (ORT) for the month of December 2015 and Msowoya attributed the problem to failure by controlling officers to submit expenditure returns for November 2015.
But some district commissioners (DCs) dismissed Treasury’s assertions, saying they duly complied with the requirement and wondered why they were not being funded.
This financial year, government is struggling to provide funding to the maximum level to departments and ministries due to lack of funds worsened by low revenues collected by public tax collector Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and donors’ continued withholding of their 40 percent contribution to the recurrent budget.