There must be consequences

25 January 2019 | Columns

Government offices, ministries and agencies continue to show weaknesses as far as good governance is concerned.

Reading through various reports compiled by the office of the auditor-general confirms the assertion that proper internal controls and recordkeeping is in shambles in the public sector. Many town councils and municipalities as well as regional councils are also failing to implement basic accounting systems, leading to a significant number of qualified audit opinions. The situation is even worse at some state-owned enterprises which have seen some not complying with public accounts procedure manuals such as the submission of annual financial statements. In a recent interview with Namibian Sun, public enterprises minister Leon Jooste made an impassioned appeal to SOEs to table their results for scrutiny. It appears that some haven't published their financial results in years. This is clearly not encouraging and raises concerns about the sheer lack of accountability in the workplace, exacerbated by a lack of a decisive leadership. It is sad that key ministries such as health, education, agriculture, works, defence as well as information are still unable to come up with clean audit opinions to this day. According to a report launched by auditor-general Junias Kandjeke in Windhoek this week, the six ministries have failed to fully explain their spending over a period of four years or so. The auditors have unearthed a number of inconsistencies in the financial dealings of many government ministries, agencies and offices, with millions unaccounted for or squandered. The primary responsibility of public officials is to serve the interests of ordinary citizens, first and foremost. Ordinary citizens have the right to demand fiscal accountability; they also have the right to know how their hard-earned money is being spent by those elected into power. We are a country faced with many problems at the moment and we can ill-afford to be merciless and reckless with taxpayers' money. Clearly, the authorities must see to it that there are consequences for mismanagement and non-performance.

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