GWERU: Local authorities have been urged to practice sounding Public Finance Management (PFM), accountability and transparency mechanism to foster good corporate governance.
The sentiments came through during a meeting facilitated by the Zimbabwe Coalition and Debt Development (ZIMCODD) where local governance expert, Dr Vincent Chakunda questioned Mindlands Province’s local authorities’ willingness to be transparent and accountable over usage of public funds.
“Our local authorities have to improve on accountability and transparency. One would question willingness of local authorities’ willingness to openness if he or she would question for the utility value of a 2014 audit produced in 2019.
“Surprisingly, these local authorities have departments housing qualified personnel like accountants but you never get most recent audit results or cashflows,” Dr Chakunda argued.
He further indicated that that corruption leads to exploitation of public resources at the expense of residents often leads to local authorities shelving figures.
Speaking during the same platform, Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) Director Charles Mazorodze forwarded the need to have citizen friendly budgets so as to capacitate the ordinary person with follow up mechanisms on how public funds are being managed.
“A simplified version of local authority budgets is one thing councils must invest in considering how citizens have often failed to follow up on development before we even look at how technical language bars them from taking part in budget meetings,” added Mazorodze.
ZIMCODD is actually of the opinion that lack of accountability and transparency in Public Finance Management has led to under development of the country’s major cities.
“PFM in Zimbabwe is in a bad state. This is clear by the level of underdevelopment which is contrary to what citizens anticipate. Abuse of public resources is actually rife,” argued ZIMCODD Campaigns Officer, Angellah Mandoreba.
PFM refers to the set of laws, rules, systems and processes used to mobilise revenue, allocate public funds, undertake public spending, account for funds and audit results.
Good public financial management systems are important for democratic governance, macro-economic stability, effective use of resources available and poverty reduction. Good PFM systems can also help prevent corruption and foster aid effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) President Josiah Makombe was not readily available for comment to respond to question asking what they are doing to ensure transparency and accountability in Public Finance Management.