The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga, has made a startling revelation that the government is operating with just one chartered accountant. Guvamatanga said the skills gap makes it difficult to address compliance issues, especially when companies want to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
“For a company to be listed on the ZSE, there is a requirement that it should have a chartered accountant within the skills set of the organisation,”Guvamatanga said while launching the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Implementation Strategy Plan in Harare yesterday.
“We then have the biggest organisation in the land which is the government of Zimbabwe, you have been told that I was a banker before, I used to run an institution which had a balance sheet of $500m and we had 17 chartered accountants. I come to the government and I’m asked to run a $10bn balance sheet with one chartered accountant.”
Guvamatanga added: “When Honourable Tendai Biti calls me and says you’re not complying, where is this report? Honourable Biti, you should understand that it cannot be delivered with just one accountant, and there is really an issue with skills.”
Guvamatanga said the non-compliance trend spills into government ministries because of the skills gap.
“I think it might actually follow to ministries as well. You are also having budgets in excess of $2bn, zero chartered accountants, and you expect them to manage those huge budgets properly,” he said. “I could not tell you this Honourable Biti when you were asking me the questions in Parliament, but it’s one of the biggest reasons there is no compliance.”
Zimbabwe is targeting to migrate to Accrual Based Accounting by 2025, a move aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in government departments.