The lack of capacity within the urban and rural development ministry, a moratorium on travel as well as some administrative lapses were outlined as major contributing factors to underspending within the ministry.
Auditor general Junias Kandjeke stated that the ministry underspent by N$241 million for the 2019/20 financial year after it only spent the actual budget of a little over N$1.7 billion out of N$1.9 billion authorised for expenditures.
The underspending on the remuneration budget of N$183.7 million in the ministry is mainly attributed to the vacant positions which were not filled during the financial year under review.
The positions of a deputy director for planning; a deputy director for technical services, who was transferred to the Omaheke Regional Council; one town planner Grade 6; and two control administrative officers Grade 6, which became vacant towards the end of the financial year, were all not filled.
About N$10 million underspent has been attributed to travelling and subsistence allowances which came about as a result of fewer foreign trips that were undertaken because of cost-cutting measures that have been implemented.
Kandjeke said there is also under-expenditure caused by the late submission of invoices related to security services at the Mass Housing development programme sites.
“Some local authorities failed to submit capital projects’ accountability reports for the last quarter, resulting in the transfer of funds for the following quarter being withheld.
“Another contributing factor is the difference in the financial years of the central government and that of the local authorities, which creates some operational challenges in measuring the budget execution,” he pointed out.
“The underspending on transport is attributed to the late submission of fuel invoices from the Government Garage for an official vehicle of the minister and deputy minister.
“The report did not specify the amount. The under-expenditure on other services and expenses is attributed to the cancellation of regional capacity-building workshops for decentralised functions with an unspecified amount because identified ministries were not ready.”
The underspending on the support for a non-profit organisation was as a result of the integration of rural development centres into the ministry’s approved staff structure towards the end of the financial year, but the amount is not specified.
Kandjeke said the funds which were budgeted to cater for the upkeep of the three rural development centres Ben-Hur, Okashana and Ongwediva were not transferred, but the amount is also not specified.