OPM underspent budget by N.dollars 68 million in 2016/17

19 Jul 2018 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 19 JUL (NAMPA) – The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) underspent its budget for the 2016/17 financial year by N.dollars 68 million which could have been diverted to other pertinent projects, according to Auditor General Junias Kandjeke.
He made these findings in his audit report on the OPM for the financial year ended March 2017, tabled in the National Assembly by Deputy Minister of Finance Natangwe Ithete last week.
Kandjeke referred to Treasury Instruction DC 0202, which stipulates that when drawing up draft estimates, accounting officers and their financial officers should guard against asking for more funds than can reasonably be spent.
“The Office of the Prime Minister underspent its total budget with N.dollars 68 175 727.46 (13,36 per cent). These funds could have been for other projects,” the auditor general said in the report.
In response, the Office of the Prime Minister’s accounting officer indicated that the N.dollars 68 million which was earmarked for disaster risk management “could not be transferred by the Ministry of Finance due to government cash flow problems”.
The auditor general further discovered unauthorised expenditure in four operational divisions in the OPM during the period under review.
“Four operational subdivisions were exceeded by an amount totaling N.dollars 117 614.93, which is unauthorised in terms of Section 6 of the State Finance Act,” Kandjeke said.
The accounting officer in the report responded that the virements were made when it was foreseen that there might be over-expenditure.
“Unfortunately, there was under-estimation in the viremented amount.”
To prevent this from occurring in the future, Kandjeke recommended that the accounting officer put control measures in place to avoid unauthorised expenditure.
He also found several flaws in the OPM’s internal control mechanisms, one of which was its audit committee being dormant.
Additionally, the internal audit unit in the OPM had an annual plan for the financial year under review, however, it was not approved.
The OPM also did not have a formal risk assessment process, commonly known as enterprise risk management, in place.
This, according to Kandjeke, means the Office of the Prime Minister’s management has neither identified nor addressed risk areas within its operations.
Another shortcoming was that the OPM did not have an information technology (IT) steering committee and the IT department had no training programme during the year in question.
This could result in the IT function failing to meet operations as staff members are not kept abreast of new developments in the industry.
“It is recommended that the accounting officer should put measures in place to address the above-mentioned weakness,” Kandjeke said.