GOVERNMENT is moving in to plug loopholes in the public sector – synonymous with a “leaky roof” – as it seeks to enhance transparency and accountability and in the process improve the contribution of State enterprises to the economy. Secretary for Corporate Governance, State Enterprises and Delivery Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach acknowledged malpractices within the public sector which he said affect service delivery and accountability.
This has prompted Government, through the OPC to spearhead a series of restructuring and reform measures aimed at modernising the public sector’s outdated administrative systems. The reforms are within a broader, longstanding Government reform and modernisation programme, anchored on a gradual, phased migration towards e-Government.
“The roof has been leaking, that is why the OPC has moved in to ensure there is transparency and accountability,” said Ambassador Comberbach during a question and answer segment at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) public sector convention in Harare yesterday.
One of the measures is to implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) which promotes transparency and accountability within the sector. This, he said, will enable Government to monitor and assess its set targets and goals towards enhancing service delivery and overall economic turnaround strategies.
“Without precise and timely data on how public resources are being managed, or on the level of progress being made towards the attainment of agreed targets, central Government is unable to accurately assess performance, to detect deviation from targets established within the Zim-Asset framework and unable to initiate early corrective action,” he said.
ICAZ president Mr Martin Makaya highlighted the need for transparency in the public sector as this has a bearing on the investor perception held over a country. Its competitiveness and transparency ranking is also affected, which has a knock on effect on its world rankings. Zimbabwe scored 3,41 points out of 7 on the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum, and ranked number 126 on the most competitive nations in the world out of 138 countries ranked in the 2016-2017 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report.
On the 2016 Corruption Perception Index published by the Transparency International, Zimbabwe scored 22 points out of 100. The same organisation ranks Zimbabwe number 154 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries while the World Bank’s ease of doing business report rates the country at 161 among 190 economies.
“In low-scoring countries, people frequently face bribery and extortion, basic services have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and people meet official indifference when seeking redress from authorities,” said Mr Makaya.
He added the introduction of the Public Sector Corporate Governance Bill for the corporate governance of public entities is a major step in the right direction and keeping up with best practice in order to achieve economic prosperity.