Government Takes Action to Address Auditor General’s Report on Government Payroll

Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, MP, the Minister of Finance and National Planning, addressed the National Assembly on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee concerning the Audit of Government Payroll for the financial years ended 31st December 2017 to 2021. The Minister expressed gratitude to the Committee for its diligent consideration of the Auditor General’s report and highlighted the government’s commitment to ensuring oversight and accountability in public institutions.

The Public Accounts Committee presented several issues and significant recommendations related to audits conducted in various Ministries, Provinces, and Agencies for the specified financial years. Dr. Musokotwane acknowledged the importance of these recommendations and assured the House that the government is dedicated to implementing them.

Key Observations and Responses:

The Minister addressed the inefficiencies in updating the Establishment Register in the past. He assured the House that the government has implemented interventions to enhance the control environment in managing the Government Payroll System. As part of these efforts, Establishment Registers are now updated annually to prevent recurring inefficiencies.

Dr. Musokotwane emphasized that the government has taken steps to address the failure to reconcile the payroll on a monthly basis. Controlling Officers for each Head of Expenditure now have access to monthly payroll reports, enabling them to conduct reconciliations. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning actively monitors these reconciliations, and adherence to the regulation has been observed.

The Minister acknowledged the observation of unaccounted for officers and explained that these are misplaced officers on the payroll. The government has withheld salaries for these officers until they are identified by relevant Ministries. The identification process is ongoing, and once completed, the officers’ salaries will be paid.

Dr. Musokotwane highlighted that the government is addressing the issue of delayed conclusion of disciplinary cases in a systematic manner. The introduction of a system working in collaboration with all Service Commissions, decentralizing Human Resource operations to District levels, has expedited the handling of disciplinary cases.

To ensure proper management of the payroll, the government introduced the Payroll Workflow Management System. Controlling Officers for each Head of Expenditure are responsible for all Payroll Inputs pertaining to their Ministry, while Super Users handle inputs related to transfers across Ministries. This measure has enhanced internal control in payroll management and ensures correct entitlements are paid.

The Minister assured the National Assembly that the government takes matters raised in the Auditor General’s Report seriously. To enhance Public Financial Management systems, a Steering and Technical Committee has been constituted to spearhead payroll management reforms. The committee has introduced payroll workflows, conducted capacity building activities, and continues to monitor payroll management.

Dr. Musokotwane emphasized the government’s commitment to promptly and decisively address all matters raised in the Auditor General’s Report. The Minister’s statement reassured the House that the government is dedicated to ensuring accountability and effective financial management in the public sector.

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