Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND – The East and Southern African Association of Accountants General (ESAAG) should work in unison to strengthen mechanisms to enhance effective and efficient public financial management.
This was said by the deputy finance minister, Natangue Ithete, during the opening of the 27th ESAAG annual conference.
ESAAG is a regional association of accountants, consisting of 14 member countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The week-long conference provides a platform for networking and sharing of information on public finance management among accountants and other professionals.
Ithete advised ESAAG to work with other continental bodies such as the African Union, SADC and ECOWAS to facilitate and encourage country leadership in setting the public fund management reform strategy and action plan for its member states.
“The accounting profession plays a key role when it comes to economic growth in the world. Namibia, in this regard, started looking at avenues such as increasing exports, utilisation of Namport by enhancing its efficiencies, as well as increasing tourism revenue, among others, Ithete explained.
He then explained to the delegation that the key is to identify their countries’ niche areas and exploit them to the fullest, especially in times where almost all the economies are growing at a decreasing rate or not growing at all.
“Therefore, this event is an opportunity for the concerned sectors to look ahead, as we anticipate positive growth and reforms in the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
He then pointed out that the conference is indeed taking place at a time the world economic and financial crisis generated a decrease in government revenues, leaving public accountants with a huge challenge of balancing spending needs in the public sector.
“Namibia is, therefore, excited to host this important gathering, of which the outcome will form part of the bigger picture in shaping the public financial management in the East and Southern African region.
We must take into account that public financial management reforms will assist us to be more accountable and bring about economic growth to provide the much needed resources to critical areas and services,” Ithete said.
He then appealed to the delegates to be open minded and come up with tangible solutions for all member states, in order to bring about economic prosperity and development.