Public sector reluctant to adopt new accounting standards

Spread This News

By Alois Vinga

GOVERNMENT is facing resistance from senior bureaucrats unwilling to adopt new accounting standards being introduced as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new thrust to bring accountability in the public sector, Accountant General Daniel Muchemwa has revealed.

Muchemwa told guests at the third meeting of the Zimbabwe International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Working Group which kicked off in Harare Tuesday, that the resistance had presented authorities with “challenges” to government.

“There is the challenge of resistance where some government officials have not managed to change their mindsets in civil administration and you will realise that some still want to hold on to the past,” he said.

The Accountant General pointed out that the high implementation costs associated with the program, unavailability of qualified accountants and the lack of binding rules and regulations are among factors hampering the move to accept the standards.

However, IPSASB chairperson, Ian Carruthers expressed optimism over the Zimbabwe’s move to adopt the new standards.

“It is very important to note that the country wants to be accountable in the way in which public taxes are used.

“There is political will already in place since President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Finance Ministry have already endorsed their signatures in support of the strategy’s implementation,” he said.

Carruthers added that the required legislation and associated systems are already in place and key changes will be needed in improving qualification capacity.

The IPSASB boss implored government to develop and monitor the changes as Zimbabwe moves towards the new system.

Currently the country’s public sector is using a cash basis accounting technique which only reflects current expenditures against cash available and this technique does not encourage full disclosure of liabilities which an entity carries.

If Zimbabwe adopts the IPSAS, it will migrate to accrual accounting where revenue is recorded when earned and expenses are recorded when consumed.

IPSAS are internationally recognised and aim to improve the quality of general purpose financial reporting by public sector entities, leading to better informed assessments of the resource allocation decisions made by governments, thereby increasing transparency and accountability.

Mnangagwa in the run-up to last year’s elections pitched his campaign on a commitment to transparency governance systems as well as the fight to stamp corruption.