MUTARE: Members of the public here have demanded that funds collected by public bodies such as ZRP and other state entities must be audited and monitored by both Parliament and the finance ministry.
Police and other departments such as the Environmental Management Agency are mandated to collect funds through fines but those funds are used without any accountability to the treasury.
According to MDC-T legislator and economist, Eddie Cross, over 100 such funds raised as much $800 million in 2014 but the ministry of finance didnt receive anything.
During the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development hearings in the eastern border city recently, people said they wanted a change to that arrangement.
The hearings focused on the Special Economic Zones and Public Finance Management Amendment Bills.
Participants who included industrialists and economists called on government to come up with strong regimes to manage public funds, saying too much was being mismanaged and looted without anyone being held accountable.
“There should be stern measures to deal with people who are abusing state funds. No arrests have been made in the parastatals and state run enterprises despite evidence of looting,” said Mike Mugumbati, an economic analyst.
The participants also told the MPs that most parastatal heads were more likely to be politically correct than being efficient when discharging their duties.
The business community also suggested that parastatals must be run by an independent commission which would set perks for each entity according to its size and performance.
In an interview with Newzimbabwe.com, Cross applauded Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for his willingness to reform.
“We urged the minister to insist all funds be channelled into a consolidated revenue fund. $800 million is a lot of money which is about 20 percent of the national budget and surprisingly this money was being spent without any budget controls and supervision by line ministries,” said Cross.
“I applaud Chinamasa because he has taken this issue on board. Line ministries have tried to resist the consolidation of the funds into a consolidated revenue fund. The money should be handled through budget and audit processes,” said Cross.
He added, “These accounts must be audited by Auditor General and recommendations followed. These parastatals or government run enterprises must produce a budget.”
Of all the state departments that are mandated to collect funds on behalf of the state, ZRP are perhaps the most criticised because of weekly reports on corrupt officers who pocket most of what they gather.