WINDHOEK- A public accounts parliamentary standing committee has observed the handling of public funds by some state-owned enterprises (SOEs) remains a major concern considering the fact these SOEs are funded by taxpayers.
According to the parliamentary committee report tabled in the National Assembly last week, there is mismanagement of funds and generally poor and inefficient management.
Equally, the committee found that in most cases SOEs do not comply with the applicable laws and regulations. The committee also found that SOEs do not reconcile their transactions, have incomplete financial statements, failed to provide supporting documents for audit purposes, and there was an absence or lack of asset registers.
Further, the report indicates that some SOEs are technically insolvent.
“Because of issues raised above, failure to provide supporting documents by SOEs for verification purposes makes it difficult for the auditors to validate or confirm the accuracy of records, expenditures and transactions made,” the report stated. It is therefore the wish of the members of the standing committee on public accounts of the National Assembly chaired by RDP parliamentarian Mike Kavekotora that the report be considered, discussed and adopted by the House. The committee recommends to have access to financial and audit reports of all SOEs including those established under the Companies Act, or established with a provision for auditing to be done by an external auditing company and not by the auditor-general. Currently, the committee only reviews some and not all SOEs which are of concern to the members.
The report noted that although these institutions make use of public funds they are not subjected to scrutiny and examination by the public accounts committee.
Moreover, the committee recommends that SOEs should put corrective measures in place to ensure there is prudent use of public funds and put a stop to financial mismanagement in those entities.
The committee also recommend that the Ministry of Public Enterprises and line ministries must ensure that SOEs that fail to submit their annual audited financial reports on time and fail to manage their funds prudently are taken to task and disciplined.
The same ministry and other custodian government ministries, offices and agencies should ensure that the boards of SOEs implement the recommendations made by the auditors to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
The committee also wants the public enterprises ministry to identify the reasons why some SOEs are technically insolvent and recommends solutions to parliament to ensure those crippling entities are brought back to solvency.