Ministry splashes US$14m on idle workers

Source: Ministry splashes US$14m on idle workers – Sunday News Jun 25, 2017

Harare Bureau
THE Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment paid close to US$10 million to idle workers last year, while US$4 million from the Youth Development and Employment Creation fund could not be accounted for.

In her report for the financial year ended 31 December, 2016 on appropriation accounts, finance and revenue statements and fund accounts; Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri revealed issues bordering on fraud, poor corporate governance and flouting of tender procedures.

She noted that the Youth Ministry used US$1,8 million from the Youth Development and Economic Empowerment Fund as colletaral for loans issued to private individuals who are not paying back the money.

Mrs Chiri said the Youth Ministry, headed by Minister Patrick Zhuwawo, understated employment costs for 2016 by US$9 862 963.

“Payments in respect of employment costs processed by the Salary Services Bureau amounted to US$36 955 752, while the ministry’s ledger had US$27 092 789 leaving a variance of US$9 862 963 unaccounted for and unreconciled. As a result of the above, I was not convinced that the appropriation account shows a true position in respect of expenditure incurred under salaries and allowances.”

In response, the Youth Ministry said the money related to employees was affected by Public Service Commission-led restructuring.

“The affected members are still at work, at their respective work stations in the ministry but are no longer on the establishment. The members are still waiting for redeployment,” said the ministry.

Mrs Chiri insisted that any money relating to salaries and allowances must be part of the ministry’s wage bill.

The Auditor-General also pointed out that the Youth Ministry was supposed to streamline its workforce from 6 271 to 2 585, amid indications that the ministry partially implemented a staff rationalisation directive by abolishing 3 686 posts.

Mrs Chiri said over US$91,7 million was advanced to private and public enterprises in loans through ministries and fund accounts without loan agreements.