Vice President Saulos Chilima has disclosed that the lack of adequate oversight and adherence to the 2018 amended Public Audit Act and the Public Finance Management Act of 2003 has cost Malawi billions of kwachas.
Chilima made the remarks on Friday at the closing of the Public Sector Conference at Mponela in Dowa.
The Vice President emphasized that public sector accountants and auditors have a huge responsibility of safeguarding public resources.
He warned that the Public Finance Management Act of 2003, which is under review and is expected to be tabled in Parliament, spells out tough penalties to be meted on officers who will not adhere to the laid out laws.
“This will help Malawi to gain back the lost glory of financial prudence in the public sector. But for this to be achieved, there will be need for you people gathered here to work professionally and diligently,” said Chilima.
The Vice President, who is also the Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, said the passing of the Public Accountants and Auditors Act 2013 was to instill discipline and professionalism in the accounting and auditing profession.
At this point, he urged accountants and auditors to register with the Malawi Accountants Board (MAB) through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) as it is a requirement in Section 26 of the Act.
“There are penalties tied for failure to adhere to such provision of the law,” he warned.
However, Chilima applauded ICAM for taking keen interest in matters pertaining to the public sector or “what I would call the Reforms agenda which the Tonse Alliance administration – under the leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera – is championing”.
He said he was particularly pleased to note that there is a Public Sector Committee within ICAM through which auditors and accountants interface with Office of the President and Cabinet, Office of the Auditor General, and Ministry of Finance.
“I would like to further commend you for that initiative. Such collaboration is what we need if indeed we want to achieve the reforms in the Public Sector. There is no better point to start with reforms than with accountants and auditors working in Government.
“I have been reliably informed that Government is reporting its expenditure following the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
“Improving public financial accountability also calls for publishing public government financial statements regularly. We can only be assured of continued public scrutiny of financial position of the Government if full financial statements based on accruals are published regularly. I have been informed that Government will be publishing its financial statements on the Ministry of Finance’s website.
“With this development, I would like to encourage you to take these trainings seriously because the knowledge gained through this conference will improve service delivery and ethical conduct of accountants and auditors as you are discharging your oversight and accountability roles,” he said.
ICAM president Phylis Kachingwe admitted that the association has been facing challenges to enforce law on errant accountants and auditors.
However, Kachingwe assured that they are working towards addressing the gaps.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :