Oxfam, Integrity Platform call for more action on public financial management

Malawians need to take an interest on how public resources are managed by responsible controlling officers for there to be meaningful improvement in the observations and recommendations from audit reports prepared periodically by the Auditor General.

Kabondo: Little is being done to improve on queries in public finance management

This call was made by African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC), through its integrity platform and Oxfam Malawi.

The two organizations say that they have noted that most of the recommendations made in audit reports are unheeded by the responsible departments and offices because there is no pressure from the public and other oversight institutions, resulting in continued loss of public resources.

Integrity Platform executive director, Jeff Kabondo, said that public financial management will only improve if the public and all oversight institutions and stakeholders take an interest and action on contents of the audit reports.

“Little is being done to improve on queries in public finance management. controlling officers are rarely taken to task for mismanagement of public resources. As a result, resources are not used effectively and efficiently to serve the people especially the disadvantaged,” said Kabondo.

Kabondo further said that the general public needs to participate in the monitoring of the whole budget implementation process as well as the implementation of the recommendations from various audit reports.

Oxfam Malawi Governance Program Manager, Mathias Kafunda said it is the responsibility of every citizen and all oversight institutions to make sure that responsible officers are working upon the areas of improvement that the Auditor General identifies to safeguard public finances.

“The Auditor General plays a big role in identifying the areas that we need to improve on and areas where some departments need to be held accountable. However, implementation of these is poor and the country keeps losing the very limited resources in the same ways,” said Kafunda.

Kafunda also called upon institutions like the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Ombudsman and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to take leading roles in ensuring that there is a change in the way controlling officers handle public finances.

PAC Chairperson, Ken Kandodo, whose committee has been summoning some government departments and agencies with regards to the recent audit report, echoed the sentiments of Oxfam and Integrity Platform, saying fighting corruption is a collective effort.

“We have had these problems for a long time and nothing seems to be changing. As a result, we struggle to provide social services yet we allocate enough resources for the same. Citizens and all other stakeholders should start taking active roles in ensuring accountability,” said Kandodo.

The recent audit report by the Auditor General highlighted among others instances of payment without proof of delivery of goods and services as one of the recurring flaws contributing to the loss of public finances.

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