The Ministry of Finance has assured that it will address all issues raised in the report on the audit of the government’s Covid-19 expenditure by the Auditor-General.
The report revealed some infractions in government’s expenditure for Covid-19 from March 2020 to June 2022.
Some of the corrupt practices that were uncovered include; paying a total of $607,419.02 out of $4,049,460.12 for the purchase of 26 ambulances that were never delivered, paying an unapproved amount of ¢151,500 by the Information Ministry to its own staff as Covid-19 insurance, and paying for $80 million worth of vaccines by the government that was never delivered, amongst others.
Responding to the report, the Ministry of Finance stated that the findings provide government an opportunity to implement the recommendations made by the Auditor-General.
“The Ministry welcomes the Auditor General’s report and wishes to assure the public that, steps are being taken to address all issues”, a statement issued by the Public Relations Unit on Wednesday said.
It added that some interventions are currently being pursued through meetings to engage with the implementing agencies to evaluate actions taken to implement the audit recommendations in the report.
“Preparation of an Emergency Expenditure Management Guideline is being considered. This guideline will provide government with administrative protocols in times of emergency such as the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure compliance with relevant PFM regulations while providing timely responses”.
The statement reassured that government will continue to apply its best efforts to enforce and enhance expenditure management and accountability to ensure proper utilization of tax revenue to the full benefit of citizens, using established budgetary and accountability systems in government.
Providing some background and clarifications, the Finance Ministry said the audit report confirms total resources mobilized for the Covid-19 response over the period March 2020 to June 2022 at ¢21,844,189,185.24.
“As indicated on page 7, paragraph 18 of the report, the funds mobilized were to address the following two key interventions: – finance direct Covid-19 intervention expenditures; and support the funding gap in the budget which was occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on revenue mobilization.
“As reported on page 11, paragraph 31 of the report, the 53.8% and 46.2% spent on direct Covid-19 interventions and for general budget support respectively were consistent with the mandate approved by Parliament”.
“The Ministry of Finance coordinated the mobilization and disbursement of funds for the Covid-19 responses by government in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, to ensure timely release of funds to save lives, livelihoods, and property”.
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