PAC: Public accountably is improving

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recorded improvements in accountability of public finances, according to its latest report.

 

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recorded improvements in accountability of public finances, according to its latest report.

The report, tabled Wednesday before the Lower House by PAC vice chairperson Theoneste Karenzi, follows a series of public hearings that ended last month.

Budget managers from 26 public institutions, who showed shortcomings in accountability in Auditor General (AG) report for 2012/2013 were summoned to explain the irregularities.

“During our investigation, we realised that there was improvement in public finance management,” Karenzi said.

Public institutions that have shown clean audits rose from 28 per cent in 2011/2012 to 32 per cent in 2012/2013, according to the Auditor-General.

Of the 331 public institutions, 127 were audited during the Financial Year 2012/2013. It is understood that the institutions were allocated the lion’s share – 79 per cent – of the Budget.

“For the first time, we had ‘except for’ audit opinion from the districts of Kamonyi, Gakenke and Ruhango,” Karenzi added.

There is also an improved will from the public institutions and budget managers to ensure proper management of public funds.

About 70 per cent of public institutions implemented recommendations from the AG with 60 per cent execution rate.

Karenzi said once the “easy to use” accounting software is installed in all districts, Non-Budget Agencies (NBAs) such as public schools and health centres will have “Unqualified Opinion” (also known as clean audit).

More efforts needed

However, more efforts are still required in government business enterprises, boards and universities, which, according to the PAC report, showed several cases of financial mismanagement.

Public sectors that serve in governance, agriculture, education, health and social welfare reported cases of misappropriations of funds, theft and poor management, the report said.

The 2012/13 AG’s report indicates that Rwf175.8 billion was generated by NBAs but was not reflected in the financial statements of districts.

The report also shows that over Rwf23bn was lost in poor contract management procedures.

Some of the contracts were either delayed or abandoned after payments for execution had been done. Of the 55 contracts abandoned, 16 were from Gatsibo, six from Rusizi, and four from Ruhango.

“There is a possibility that there could have been complicity with those that gave out the contracts, or simply poor project studies prior to awarding contracts,” said Karenzi.

The committee renewed calls for an investigation into losses incurred by King Faisal Hospital Rwanda resulting from bulk purchase of medicine and equipment amounting to Rwf2 billion.

The hospital is said to have spent Rwf1.8 billion on an architectural study to design a refurbishment project piece.

However, according to AG’s report, the hospital failed to secure funds for the project and scaled the project down to the national reference laboratory building.

Underlining committee resolutions, MP Theogène Munyangeyo asked government to consider all possible measures to ensure proper accountability of public finances.

“Chief budget managers should be held accountable for expensive contracts that are not clearly defined and cost public funds,” he said.

MP Suzanne Mukayijore said there should be a bigger solution aimed at condemning people that are implicated in accountability mismatching.

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