Windhoek-Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah could last week not give a breakdown of how the N$208 million budgeted under an account labelled “others” in the 2017/2018 financial year was to be used, as requested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PSCPA).
The PSCPA reviewed the Appropriation Act for the financial year 2017-2018 and uncovered a number of issues of concern to the committee that required further explanation from accounting officers, specifically regarding an account called “others”, which appears in all budget votes of offices, ministries and agencies.
The committee also reviewed the auditor-general’s reports on performance audit on public debt management within the Ministry of Finance, dating back to 2012.
“The issue, among others, is an account called ‘others’ in all budget votes, and the committee would like the accounting officer to prepare a breakdown and explain in detail the figures contained in this account,” the committee had requested.
Chairperson of the PSCPA Mike Kavekotora asked Shafudah to provide a breakdown of the amount in question.
“Can the PS give an explanation of how for the past two financial years the ministry of finance had no budget under the ‘others’ account… [yet] for the 2017/2018 financial year the ministry felt the need to budget a substantial amount in the middle of a financial crisis.”
Shafudah could not provide further details and said the only explanation she could muster to justify the more than N$200 million in the “others” account was that it was intended for consultants, but she could not provide the requested details of how much was intended for what purpose.
“We have three consultants, who are implementing systems at the Ministry of Finance. We have a consultant who is the administrator for Psemas (the Public Service Employees Medical Aid Scheme).
“We have a consultant administrating the integrated financial management system, and another who is developing the integrated tax administration system, which makes up the N$208 million.
“So, for now I will say [the money was earmarked] for consultants,” Shafudah said.