The Villager Editorial: Under expenditure is a sin

March 15, 2015, 8:40pm

Under expenditure is a sin

Government has been stuck in a vicious cycle of underspending allocated funds from the budget year in year out. Once again this week the Auditor General’s audit reports to parliament on different ministries show that there is rampant under expenditure in the bulk of ministries and government agencies.

As if that is not Government employees are gripped insatiable appetite for spending Subsistence and Travel allowances.

Real statistics uncovered by the AG show that Government Ministries and departments have cumulatively splashed more than N$114 million on Subsistence and Travel (S&T) allowances while under-spending figures in excess of N$700 million during the financial years 2012 and 2013.

What a shame.

A breakdown of the figures show that The Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (MoYNSSC), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), The Ministry of Veteran Affairs (MoVA), The Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Forestry (MoAWF) several other governmental departments have spent over N$114 million on S&T, with the MoAWF spending the lion’s share of N$58, 765, 586.01 on travel and subsistence expenses, while recording under-expenditure of more than N$450 million over the financial year that ended in March 2013.

While there is need to drive government projects annually and make sure the country develops at a faster rate one cannot hide the fact that sometimes Government is in a self-defeating process. How do you expect to steer development if you cannot exhaust the funds given on a project. What that means is that projects are just not being execute.

It is a sin to explain under expenditure in ministries like Agriculture Water and Forestry, Safety and Security and even Ministry of Information and Communication technology.

Only last year The Villager ran a story that there is no sufficient supply of toiletries for inmates while the department of correctional services  is obviously in need of more and more uniforms for prisoners.

How does Government explain under expenditure in the department of correctional services when the reality is that many inmates are not satisfied with the amount of food that they are receiving?  It is also unexplainable the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is underspending at a time when the need for technology is vital.

One also does not get the idea behind under expenditure in a vital ministry like agriculture. This is the ministry that is expected to feed the many Namibians across the country. It is also the same ministry that is expected to come up with vital subsidies to assist communal farmers. 

Although the fact that some Government ministries are returning money to treasury shows that the government’s system is strict on expenditure it is worrisome when the issue is recurrent. Perhaps Government needs to come up with better ways of stimulating implementation of projects.

The most regrettable part of the under expenditure in Government is that most of the money that end up being sent back to treasury is supposed to drive capital projects.

How will government expect to drive a robust developmental projects if the same amount of money that is supposed to steer development is being sent back to treasury. In as much as over expenditure is a sin