The former Ministry of Education incurred unauthorised expenditures of over N$630 million last year, and the trend is not expected to stop soon, especially after the introduction of free universal primary education.
The over-expenditure is revealed in the auditor-general’s report for 2014, tabled in the National Assembly last week. Government has since split the education ministry into two, which resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, as well as the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
The two education ministries received a combined N$15.1 billion for the 2015/16 financial year. Overspending is not a new phenomenon in the education ministry as in 2010, 2011 and 2014 it exceeded its allocated budget by N$1.2 billion.
In 2012 and 2014, however, the ministry failed to spend N$257 million allocated to it. In his report, Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke revealed that 16 subdivisions overspent their budget by N$774 million, while four main divisions exceeded their budgets by N$660 million.
“It is recommended that the accounting officer should closely monitor and review the financial position of the ministry on a continuous basis to enable better financial control and take appropriate action timeously to avoid unauthorised expenditure,” said Kandjeke.
The ministry’s accounting officer at the time, Alfred Ilukena, could also not explain certain expenditures related to variances exceeding N$100 000, as per the auditor general’s regulations.
The report further indicates that the reward management policy, approved by government in 2013, played a big role in the over-expenditure, as it affected staff members and teachers’ salaries.
“When compiling the quarterly execution report for 2013/14, which covered the period April until September 2013, the ministry noticed that 58.6 percent of its budget had already been spent,” said Kandjeke.
Kandjeke also revealed that a payroll expenditure forecast revealed that the monthly gross salary of the ministry before the implementation of the reward policy was about N$540 million: “After the implementation during July and August 2013, the monthly gross salary of the ministry increased to N$595 million.”
Kandjeke also indicated that the finance ministry was informed last year – through a letter from the education ministry – that the allocation made for the implementation of the reward management policy was insufficient. “In the mentioned letter, it was indicated that the ministry will incur over-expenditure on its remuneration budget line for an amount of approximately N$662 million,” Kandjeke said.
Government spent no less than N$2.3 billion to finance the appeal process of the comprehensive job evaluation and grading system of civil servants – which brought about the reward management policy.