Saturday, December 01, 2007

Zambia's parastatal dysfunction and tolerance of corruption

The Times of Zambia of 29 November reports: "Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Charles Milupi told the House that his committee discovered that 15 parastatal institutions did not contribute to the national revenue in form of tax or non-tax revenue in 2005. He said when he presented a report of the Auditor-General for 2005 on the accounts of parastatal bodies that there was need for the Government to put up management boards at most parastatals. Mr Milupi said reshuffles of ministers should not delay the appointment of management boards for accountability's sake. He said the National Food and Nutrition Commission did not have financial statements for 11 years despite having received K4.8 billion while the Engineering Services Corporation and the Village Industry Service also ignored preparation of financial statements."

This gloomy news, when added to the fact that Government is already taking care of the pension and tax debt of the parastatal responsible for wildlife and associated protected areas, the Zambia Wildlife Authority, should underline the urgent need for a review of parastatals. Is the ZAWA Board now to have a management board supervising it? And where has all the money gone that the Village Industry Service has received, an organization supposedly there to improve villager livelihoods? Perhaps the newly appointed Vice-Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Palan Mulonda - a man with some knowledge of the poor and rich divide, should investigate.

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