The auditor general’s report for the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture indicates an under expenditure of more than N$21 million for the year ended 31 March 2020.
Besides this, the auditor general determined there were no key audit matters to communicate in the report for the period under review.
Regarding the ministry’s under expenditure, just over N$10 million was under spent by the Namibia Library and Information Service.
According to AG Junias Kandjeke, this division’s under spending resulted from funded vacancies of librarians in the regions.
“The posts were advertised but no suitable candidates were found due to high demand for librarians both in public and private sectors,” reads the AG’s report. The next highest under expenditure emanated from the ministry’s administration division, which did not utilise over N$8 million allocated to it. Kandjeke explained that the ministry’s finance and administration directorate budgeted for vacancies during the 2019/2020 financial year but suspended filling these vacancies as a result of the huge wage bill. “The priority positions filled in the year under review were those of teachers and most unfilled vacant positions were put on hold to free funds for teaching posts,” said Kandjeke.
Furthermore, the culture division in the ministry underspent their annual budget by just over N$2 million. This underspending was also a result of vacant positions budgeted but not filled due to the moratorium on unfilled positions. The ministry prioritised the filling of teaching posts during the 2019/2020 financial year, while only critical posts were filled in other divisions.
In addition, the office of the minister underspent its annual budget by just over N$384 000. This underspending was as a result of the resignation of the former minister in July 2019.
“The under expenditure could not be viremented since the appointment of the new minister depended on the Office of the President and could be done at any time,” Kandjeke explained in his report. Also, the programme quality assurance division underspent by slightly more than N$261 000, which falls under the ministry’s development budget.
In this case, the underspending emanated from the construction of new classrooms and a hall at Dagbreek Special School because the contract was initially completed without rerouting stormwater channels, which were only done during the 2020/2021 financial year.
Finally, the ministry’s HIV and AIDS monitoring unit recorded an under expenditure of N$155 893.94, or 9.08% of its allocated budget. This underspending was realised under other conditions of service and travelling and subsistence allowances.
The AG explained that provision was made for resignations during the financial year, however, no staff members from the HIV management unit resigned.
“The main division also received co-funding from development partners towards HIV and AIDS and school health activities, which in most cases is not known at the time of budgeting, resulting in under expenditure,” Kandjeke stated.
“In my opinion, the financial statements of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture as of 31 March 2020 are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with Section 12 and 13 of the State Finance Act, 1991 (Act 31 of 1991) and relevant legislation,” said Kandjeke.