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Treasury admits payment glitches

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Secretary to the Treasury Macdonald Mafuta Mwale Wednesday admitted that government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are facing challenges of delays in payment processes.

Briefing reporters in Lilongwe, Mafuta Mwale, who was accompanied by Accountant General Jean Munyenyembe, said the Ministry of Finance was working hard to resolve the issues in coming months.

He said the payment cycle involved several stakeholders, some of whom had outdated Information Communication Technology systems.

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“It is envisaged that once all systems involved in the payments cycle have been upgraded and properly synchronised, the speed of processing the payments will greatly improve,” Mafuta Mwale said.

Over the past couple of months, suppliers of goods and services to the government have struggled to get paid, a development other quarters have attributed to the new Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis).

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of the six-lane Kenyatta Drive in Lilongwe last August, Roads Authority Board Chairperson Joe Ching’ani blamed the new Ifmis for delayed payments to contractors.

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“Delayed payments to contractors have been one huge headache sabotaging timely implementation and completion of road contracts. As we stand now, we have contractors carrying out massive works who have been waiting for payment for three or so months.

“We are told money is available at the Treasury but there is an animal at Capital Hill that has sat on the path of payments. The name of the animal is Ifmis. We are told it is a new Ifmis, hence it is taking time to roll out,” Ching’ani said.

But Munyenyembe Wednesday defended the new Ifmis, saying it was not responsible for delayed payments.

She said payment delays were being caused by other things outside the Ifmis, adding that the work of Ifmis ends after generating a payment voucher.

“It is not the Ifmis causing the delays in payment processes,” Munyenyembe said.

In November last year, members of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament told Munyenyembe that they were not impressed with the rollout of the new Ifmis, which they faulted for hurting people and businesses due to delayed payments.

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