Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Swaziland MPs back auditor general and freeze budgets of public enterprises

A number of public enterprises in Swaziland (eSwatini) are to have their budgets from government frozen because they have not submitted financial returns.

Members of the Swazi House of Assembly adopted a recommendation from Auditor General Timothy Matsebula.

They said the budget subventions for the parastatals should be withheld until financial statements were forthcoming. Up to E890 million in funding could be frozen.

Matsebula had drawn attention to the shortcoming in his annual report for 2019 published in February 2020. They are obliged by law to make the returns. Some are believed to have since delivered. 

The public enterprises that were not audited during the period under review included eSwatini National Trust Commission, eSwatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise, University of eSwatini , eSwatini Medical Christian University, Southern Africa Nazarene University, eSwatini Television Broadcasting Corporation, Royal Science and Technology Park Authority, Royal Swazi Airline, Youth Affairs for Youth Development Fund, National Youth Council and eSwatini Sports Council.

In his report the Auditor General also highlighted that it was now ‘a norm for ministries, departments and agencies to spend beyond the appropriated budget and/or on activities that have no budget provision by Parliament, and to incur expenditure without seeking approval from the relevant authorities’.

He found there was an over expenditure of E1.1 billion in the recurrent expenditure released budget of E15.2 billion. 

He said, ‘It is disquieting to observe such significant over expenditures, unauthorised expenditure, and unaudited public funds to public enterprises, while the country is faced with fiscal challenges.’

Swaziland is broke and is unable to pay suppliers. Hospitals have run out of drugs and schools are without teaching tools. Children at school have gone hungry because the government has not paid suppliers for their meals.

See also
Reporting of Swaziland Govt finances fails to meet international standards, auditor general states

IMF reports Swaziland public debt rising, foreign reserves fallen ‘below adequate levels’

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