The 2015 Auditor general’s report makes sad reading for an ailing economy like that of Zambia. The audit report for the financial year ended 30th September 2015 has been published and it shows colossal amounts of money that have not been accounted for.
The audit report shows unaccounted for expenditure amounting to K349 million, ranking the highest irregularity followed by undelivered materials at 251 million kwacha.
The large amounts of public funds that have not been accounted for is worrying and has a sad bearing on the growth of democracy in as far as transparency and accountability is concerned.
Strong checks and balances in public expenditure can enhance and actualise sustainable development. This is why as FODEP, we implore government, particularly the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services to realise that the access to information Bill once enacted in law would boost citizen’s vigilance on public finances and plans.
Misappropriation and corruption of public finances are vices that operate in an opaque environment. Therefore, if the access to information bill was passed into law, there would be fewer or no wastage and misapplication of public funds as witnessed by the increasing trend of abuse of public finances as revealed by the Auditor General’s report.
The latest Auditor General’s report indicates a trend of increased irregularities in payments from 26 million kwacha in 2014 to 115 million kwacha in 2015.
The Patrotic Front government stands to benefit if the access to information bill is enacted into law as it will empower citizens to demand implementation of budgets and plans in a transparent.
The government must appreciate the significance of the access to information bill and not view it as a tool for the promulgation of opposition political party interests.