WINDHOEK: For the past three financial years, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has underspend more than N.dollars 365 million that it requested from the Ministry of Finance for its budget.
MAWF Permanent Secretary Joseph Iita blamed the under expenditure on the ‘system’ during a hearing with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts of the National Assembly on Monday.
“Our laws such as the State Finance Act and Treasury Act are not serving us and the budget is not released when needed. The process takes time and the actual contracting of work starts only later – sometimes in the new financial year,” he explained.
Other reasons given for the under expenditure were vacancies not filled; survey on the agricultural sector not undertaken; bills not paid on time; and pipelines not constructed.
During the 2009/2010 financial year, MAWF under spend more than N.dollars 88 million; in 2010/2011 more than N.dollars 108 million; and in 2011/2012 more than N.dollars 169 million.
However, Chairperson of the committee, Usutuaije Maamberua said under expenditure of budgets is not necessary and amicable solutions must be found.
“The committee is concern about the ministry’s request for monies but not utilize the resources fully. MAWF is depriving other activities of other ministries and agencies,” he noted.
In implementing methods to prevent under expenditure in the near future, Iita said ministry officials will have weekly meetings on project executions and monitoring progress reports.
Meanwhile, outstanding subsistence and travel advances amounts to more than N.dollars 1.8 million for the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 financial year respectively.
Reasons given were amongst others that advances were issued just before the end of a financial year while staff members paid back during the next financial year.
The committee also wanted to know why no supporting documents were handed to the Auditor General for costs to government property. During the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial years, more than N.dollars 4 million were spend on government property. However, Iita claimed that supporting documents were submitted.
There was also a miscalculation of the value of vehicles of the ministry.
The ministry also reported 100 vehicle accidents in 2010/2011 while 26 vehicles were in need of repairs while 119 vehicle accidents were reported in 2011/2012 and 44 needed repairs. No vehicle auctions took place during both financial years, according to Iita.