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State-owned companies miss deadlines

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SEVERAL parastatals have failed to comply with government regulations compelling them to timeously submit financial results to the State Enterprises ministry due to limited capacity, a top government accountant has said.

Speaking at the Public Accountants and Auditors Board roundtable discussion in Harare yesterday, Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri said State-owned enterprises had failed to comply with the Public Finance Management Act.

“In 2010 the Ministry of Finance wrote to all parastatals to publish their financial statements, but the challenge is that some of the accounts are still as very behind as 2010 and 2011, while some are contemplating to combine the reports,” said Chiri.

Chiri said the capacity gap between the private sector and public sector was wide, adding that the private sector financial reports were well-financed as compared to the public sector.

She said there was need for government to capacitate the public sector by improving the remuneration for public accountants.

“More investment is needed to capacitate the public sector and donors should consider this as well as the area of remuneration,” Chiri said.

According to a progress report on the State enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) reform programme compiled by State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo last year, 39,5% of State-owned companies and parastatals submitted reports to the ministry compared with 65% the prior year.

“It should be noted that out of the 76 SEPs, only 30 submitted compliance reports for the first half of 2012.

“The reporting guidelines clearly highlight that reports should be submitted not later than 30 days after the closing date,” said Moyo in his report.

“This 39,5% response rate for the half year period (January to June 2012) is a step down from the 65,8% for the preceding period (July to December 2011).

“This is unwelcome and militates against government efforts to see SEPs turn around their fortunes through efficient and effective governance and reporting systems in line with the principles of transparency and accountability.”

The country has 78 parastatals that are not performing well due to various challenges that include debts and shortage of funding.

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