Vice President Saulos Chilima has asked the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) migrates to other government ministries and departments to tighten management of financial resources.
The vice president also emphasised the need for the Finance Ministry to continue tightening bank reconciliation controls to avoid theft of public funds.
Chilima, who has been meeting different heads of ministries and government departments, on Wednesday discussed with Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu progress of the ongoing public sector reforms.
He suggested to the minister that the new Ifmis must become functional at all levels, not just in 10 ministries and departments as is the case.
“The Ministry has since established an Inspectorate of Finance within the Central Audit Unit to carry out pre-audit of payment transactions and certify payment vouchers in accordance with regulations. This is an important exercise that ensures that tax-payers’ money is being put to its intended use.
“We agreed that the ministry must continue to tighten bank reconciliation controls because this laxity is what facilitated Cash-gate in 2013,” he said.
He also expressed concern at the continued downtime within the system, stressing that connectivity should not be an excuse as the government has invested a lot in E-government.
Chilima also wants the Ministry to migrate all transactions to Electronic Funds Transfer.
He also spoke against controlling officers who do not comply with measures and guidelines.
“Going forward, I have requested the ministry to prioritise critical reform areas and categorize them into Institutional, Legal and Operational reforms for smooth tracking,” he said.
He stressed the need to institute sanctions to such officers and hold them responsible.
Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda said the initial plan was to implement the new Ifmis in all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), starting from July 1, 2020 and as a pilot in 10 votes.
“The main reason is to use the pilot in order to learn lessons that should be used in rolling out to all the rest of MDAs. The way forward is that full roll out to all MDAs will be implemented from 1 July, 2021. It should be noted that the other Ministries and Departments are still using the current Ifmis,” he said.
The Ministry of Finance launched the new Ifmis in July this year to stiffen financial management after revelations of massive plunder of resources in 2013.