The Public Accounts Committee examined the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on the findings of the Auditor General on the Appropriation accounts for years ending December 31,2014 and 2015 and the Trade Measures and the Standards Association Funds for the years ending December 2013 and2014. The two Funds are administered by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Standards Development Fund was established in terms of the Standards Development Fund Act [Chapter 14:19] for the development and promotion of standardization and quality control of commodities and services. The Trade Measures Fund was established under the Trade Measures Act [Chapter I4: 23J for the development and maintenance of legal metrology services to industry and commerce and to ensure conformity with standards and requirements prescribed by international bodies.
It is of great concern to the Committee that the Ministry's Appropriation and Fund Accounts continued to receive qualified opinions. This shows that the Accounting Officer is not taking Audit processes seriously. Accounts for the Funds are lagging behind in clear violation of goveming statutes. The Committee bemoaned the lack of specific sanctions where officials fail to perform certain responsibilities. This seems to perpetuate a culture of poor performance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ENQUIRY
Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 of 2013 states as follows:
(1) Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of Govemment at every level, including statutory bodies, govemment controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, in order to ensure that-
(a) all revenue is accounted for;
(b) all expenditure has been properly incurred; and
(c) any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed.
Section 309(2)(a) of the Constitution provides for the functions of the Auditor General as follows:
"to audit the accounts, financial systems and financial management of all departments, institutions and agencies of govermment, all provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities".
National Assembly Standing Order No. 16 mandates the Public Accounts Committee to examine the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure and such other accounts laid before the National Assembly.
It is therefore, the duty of the Public Accounts Committee to report whether such public funds have been managed and expended as authorised by Parliament. In this context, the Committee examined the audited Appropriation and Fund Accounts for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as reported by the Auditor General in her Annual Report for the financial years ended December, 31, 2014 and 2015.