Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week put to task the Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN); Dr Uzziel Ndajimana to close the loopholes that are behind the mismanagement of government assets.
The call was made as Ndajimana appeared before the commission to respond to queries raised by PAC after different consultations regarding the review of the law on public procurement.
Addressing the Minister and his team, the Chairperson of PAC; Juvenal Nkusi said that the decision was reached after the review of the Auditor General’s report where it was concluded that action had to be taken to stop financial loss by the government over poor management of its assets.
“It has been a while since this commission reviewed any law which shows you how important this is. The reason this law was brought to us is because of the many issues that we found in the Auditor General’s Report. You cannot really tell where and how some assets were disposed of. For proper management, there is need for a clear cycle of planning and reporting of these assets because the government is losing a lot of money,” he said.
MP Théogène Munyangeyo said that there was need to look at the law and decide what needs to be done to fix this issue of assets.
“These assets are abandoned. There are those that formerly belonged to ‘sous-prefecture’ (sub-provincial administration), those that belonged to ‘communes’ (districts) are beginning to be a source of insecurity. They are unoccupied and debilitated.
“We have land and it is not being utilised. When you ask, you are told that letters were written to the Ministry of Finance or local government. Sometimes we hear that auctioning has been done by Ministry of Infrastructure, other times, Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) and done the wrong way. We need to come up with a law that is clear,” he said.
Minister Ndajimana said that his main concern would be more on how assets are managed in terms of maintenance instead of disposal.
He however blamed the mistakes on poor service delivery saying that each level concerning acquiring and disposing of assets has laws regulating it.
“At every level of the cycle you have mentioned, there are those responsible for them and they have laws that govern them. The failure to do their part is not because there is absence of laws to govern them.
“When procurement is done and delivery is done, there are specific regulations for that as there are those for when the equipment is old and are ready to be let go. There is a Chief Budgeting Officer who is in charge of the process from the time a tender is issued to when they are disposed of.
“The fact that this process is not followed as diligently is an operational issue. We should perhaps look at all the laws and regulations and see if there are no gaps,” he said.