BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
AUTHORITIES in the Education ministry said they were failing to recover salary surcharge debts owed by teachers who left the civil service, a development which has prejudiced government of about $4,5 million.
This was revealed in Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s latest report.
In her 2018 audit report, Chiri highlighted that revenue from departmental surcharges, Treasury orders, penalties and fines dating back from 2009 remained uncollected and the cumulative debt stood at $2 455 872.
According to the 2019 report, the amount of uncollected revenue rose to $4 419 362 due to ineffective measures put in place by the ministry to monitor revenue collection and debt recovery system.
“The larger portion of the long-outstanding revenue relates to departmental surcharges on salaries,” management in the Education ministry told Chiri.
“One of the contributory factors is the size of the ministry’s budget on employment costs and the difficulty in tracing debtors, who are teachers, who would have left the service due to attrition that is, deaths and retirement et cetera with their last known address having changed.
“In an effort to manage the above, the ministry in 2020 applied to the Public Service Commission to strengthen our provincial finance, administration and human resources sections through the creation of a chief accountant post and a deputy director human resources post at each province to enable the ministry to be more effective in dealing with debt recovery due to attrition.
“We are glad to inform you that in November 2020, the Public Service Commission acceded to our request and created the post.”
Chiri said failure to collect outstanding revenue adversely affected service delivery within government departments due to strained financial resources.
“Failure to collect outstanding revenue would lead to loss of state funds which are needed to boost the government’s operations,” she said.
“The ministry should continue to pursue the recovery of the long-outstanding departmental surcharges with the Pension’s Office. Effective measures should be put in place to monitor revenue collection.”