Public Accounts Committee Report on Ministry of Agriculture etc for years 2017 and 2018

The document downloadable below is the first of two reports by the Public Accounts Committee, as explained in the following extract from the report  It was presented in the National Assembly by committee chairperson Hon Brian Dube on Tuesday 7th September 2021.  [The second report – on the Special Maize Programme/Command Agriculture – now awaits presentation on or after 7th October, when the next Parliamentary session starts.]

“2. Background to the Inquiry

2.1. The Public Accounts Committee carries out its work pursuant to statutory audits of state accounts by the Auditor General. In each year, the Auditor General provides three sets of audited statements on Appropriation Accounts which cover Government Ministries, State owned Enterprises and Local Authorities. There are 40 votes that are covered in the audit of Appropriation Accounts, 179 audited State-owned Enterprises and 92 audited Local Authorities.  

2.2 Given this huge number of audited accounts (311 in total) the Public Accounts Committee took a decision to examine selected audited accounts in the three sets of entities.

2.3 The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, which is Vote 8 of the Appropriation Account was chosen as a sample Ministry from a group of Ministries that receive huge allocations from the National Budget.

2.4 What started off as a normal routine audit examination by the Public Accounts Committee quickly imploded into a major inquiry when the Committee noted a huge amount of an Unallocated Reserve amounting to US$1 559 713 867.

2.5 In the process of receiving oral evidence, it became clear to the Committee that Command Agriculture on its own was a huge entity, much bigger than amounts appropriated originally to Vote 8 in both 2017 and 2018.

2.6 That being so, the Committee found itself conducting two separate enquiries, the routine inquiry on Vote 8 and the separate inquiry on Command Agriculture.

2.7 As a result the Committee ended up producing two reports, one on Vote 8 and the other on Command Agriculture. The first Report focuses purely on routine issues raised by the Auditor General on Vote 8. The other Report focuses purely on Command Agriculture.

2.8 In preparing both Reports, the Committee received oral evidence from officials in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Reserve Bank Governor Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya, his deputy Dr. Khuphukile Mlambo and senior officials from the Reserve Bank. The Committee also received evidence from the Grain Marketing Board and from selected private companies that were involved with Command Agriculture that included Croco Motors, Solution Motors, Valley Seeds, Pedstock, Ferts, Seed and Grain and Sakunda.”

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