BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday said Public Accounts Committees in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region were under-performing and failing to effectively hold members of the Executive to account for their use of public funds.
Mudenda said this in a speech read on his behalf by Senate Deputy President Michael Nyambuya to officially open the Southern African Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC), which is being held in Harare from March 24 to 25.
He said failure by Parliaments to effectively monitor the use of public funds would result in low levels of transparency and accountability in the region.
“I must express my disappointment over the low accountability and transparency levels in the region. According to the International Budget Partnership (IBP) the rest of the SADCOPAC have performed dismally except for South Africa which has scored commendable results. The Pac and the Auditor-General and the Executive have a role to play in ensuring improved accountability and across the globe in accordance with the International Public Accounting Standards (IPSAS),” Mudenda said.
“Executive oversight is necessary in the governance architecture as it implores government to justify its legislative agenda, policies and programmes. Public accountability committees are critical and indispensable in the entire public accountability architecture,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Pac chairperson Brian Dube called on regional public accounts committees to operate independently and to desist from taking a partisan approach.
“The public accounts committee is a serious committee that requires one not to be partisan, but it requires one to be focused on national interests,” Dube said.
He blasted local authorities for operating in an opaque manner, saying this had resulted in residents boycotting paying bills.
“The main problem we have as parliamentarians is that local authorities lack transparency and residents are not aware what is happening. To address this, Pac was divided into three committees to specialise in monitoring the Executive, parastatals and local authorities to make follow ups on their performance,” he said.