5 November 2012

Namibia: Ministries Owe Govt Stores N$82 Million

SEVERAL ministries, including the Ministry of Works, owe the Government Stores N$82 million.

This has forced the Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina, to call on Cabinet to “instruct all client offices, ministries and agencies to pay all outstanding amounts of standard stock items” issued to them by the Government Stores.

Nghimtina’s ministry is in the red by more than N$900 000 for the 2012/2013 financial year.

The debt dates back as far back as 2006.

The Government Stores act as the central purchasing agent for the government and they offer a wide range of consumable and non-consumable items such as office material.

They operate on a trade account and do not receive any budgetary allocation from the Ministry of Works.

Nghimtina also recommended that Cabinet support the proposal for “direct recovery of funds for standard stock items being sold to offices, ministries and agencies with immediate effect”.

Since the implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) on April 1 2006, the procedures for payments from offices, ministries and agencies changed.

Payments needed to be done through Accounts Payable and an automatic journal is created during this process instead of a physical cheque. The Trade Account is then only credited with the total amount paid via the Ministry of Finance.

“This process is very long and some offices, ministries and agencies just don’t see the need of paying the Government Stores and it unfortunately reflects badly on our general ledger,” Nghimtina reported.

Documented evidence shows that the Ministry of Veterans Affairs is the biggest culprit, with an amount of more than N$11 million in outstanding debt for the 2012/2013 financial year.

The second biggest culprits are Works and the Ministry of Health and Social Services with more than N$900 000 each.

At just over N$2 000, the Office of the President owes the least, followed by the National Council which owes N$2 898, also for the 2012/2013 financial year.

The office of the Auditor General owes a mere 20 cents for the 2006/2007 financial year, while the National Council owes N$36.10.

The total outstanding for that financial year altogether amounts to just over N$14 million.

For the 2007/2008 financial year, the debt amounts to over N$26 million, with the Trade and Industry Ministry owing the biggest chunk of more than N$10 million.

For the 2008/2009 financial year, the total outstanding amounts to more than N$16 million, with the Ministry of Health and Social Services owing the biggest chunk of more than N$4 million, and the office of the Auditor General owing the least at 17 cents.

The 2009/2010 financial year sees the Ministry of Education with the biggest outstanding amount of more than N$22 million.

The 2010/2011 financial year has an outstanding amount of more than N$6 million altogether.

The Namibian could not get comment from the Works Ministry.

Questions forwarded to the Permanent Secretary Peter Mwatile were not answered, and staff in his office could not say when he would attend to the questions.

Questions sent to Mwatile included what the average annual turnover of the Stores is and what impact the outstanding payments have on the operations of the Government Stores.

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