Govt must do more on corporate governance

Source: Govt must do more on corporate governance | The Herald July 28, 2016

Enacy Mapakame : Business Reporter

GOVERNMENT has not done enough to enforce corporate governance in state enterprises, which creates a fertile ground for corruption, a senior official has said. This comes in the wake of numerous expose’ by the auditor general of misappropriation of resources by state enterprises.Speaking at a public sector audit conference yesterday, Secretary for Corporate Governance State Enterprise, and Delivery Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach said despite assurances by line ministries on imminent action against anomalies and deficiencies in public sector nothing much has been done.

He said Government has not been tough enough to deal with the reported anomalies in the public sectors that have been exposed by the auditor general.

“The bottom line of course is that as a collective, Government is just not doing enough, nor holding accountable those who, by commission or omission, contribute to the serial failings set out in such depressing detail in the auditor general’s reports.

“Year after year, our tireless auditor general is obliged to draw Government’s attention to the same failings, very often the same line Ministry and or by the same state entities which fall under its administrative umbrella,” he said.

Ambassador Comberbach added it may be challenging to achieve sound corporate governance in public sector entities overnight.

However, it is a necessary process that will result in improved performance, sustainable utilisation of resources and better service delivery.

This will also help root out corruption.

“The strict enforcement of corporate governance and financial management related legislation will certainly have a positive effect on performance and service delivery.

“It will strengthen Government’s hand in its determination to more effectively address corruption and abuse of office,” he said.

Last April, Government launched the National Code of Corporate Governance which is being translated into a Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill.

This, together with amends to Public Finance Act, the Audit Office Act, the Banking Act and the Public Procurement Act are all aimed at enforcing greater accountability and transparency.

The inaugural public sector conference seeks to interrogate institutional and professional challenges faced by public sector organisations, management, internal auditors and all employees.

The two-day conference is also expected to come up with practical and applicable solutions to poor corporate governance problem while also recognising public sector entities that have made distinguishable efforts to achieve financial prudence.