8 November 2012

Zambia: Govt Issues Guidelines On Public Funds Handling

GOVERNMENT will make it mandatory for ministries, provinces, spending agencies and revenue collecting statutory bodies to deposit all collections in form of fees and fines directly to the treasury.

Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said at a briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the measure, which is effective January 1, 2013, is aimed at ensuring the use of public resources in an equitable, transparent and accountable manner.

Mr Yamba said the Government was committed to ensuring prudent use of public funds and that all institutions would deposit money through revenue transit accounts at commercial banks.

He said commercial banks had already signed service legal agreements that would compel them to remit funds to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) within 24 hours.

The briefing was on the implementation of a pilot project for direct deposits of fees for Zambia national travel and citizenship documents at Indo-Zambia Bank.

"You will have noticed from the Auditor General's reports and reports in the Press that cases of theft and misappropriation of funds have become a permanent characteristic in all public sectors.

"This development has deprived the citizenry of the much needed development and access to social services," he said.

Mr Yamba said the Government had embarked on different reforms to change public financial management and that one such reform was collection of non-tax revenue through commercial banks to enhance accountability and transparency in domestic revenue collection.

"In addition, the Treasury has resolved to minimise human contact with cash especially in areas where banking services are available," he said.He said the move would be achieved through use of banking facilities that would enable people to deposit Government revenue directly into Government Revenue Transit Accounts at commercial banks.

On February 29 this year, the Government signed an agreement with Indo-Zambia Bank which sought to improve revenue collection and accountability through dedicated counters.

Mr Yamba said the facility would enable people to pay for Zambia national travel and citizenship documents at dedicated counters at Indo-Zambia Bank.

Members of the public would then proceed to the Passport and Citizenship office with a deposit slip for processing of their documents.

The programme would be implemented in Lusaka, Livingstone, Chipata, Kabwe and Ndola on pilot basis with a view to rolling it out to other Passport and Citizenship offices in other provincial centres.

Mr Yamba said among other benefits of the measures would be faster transmission of revenue to the Treasury.

Members of the public could check for detailed guidance on the new arrangements relating to payments for Zambia national travel and citizenship documents both in the print and electronic media.

Mr Yamba said people wishing to access services from Passport and Citizenship offices in other towns like Mansa, Mongu, Solwezi and Kasama would continue making payments at respective Passport offices as before.

Earlier, Indo-Zambia Bank managing director Shankardas Gupta said the Bank was happy to offer banking expertise and quality customer care to ensure the earmarked objective of revenue collection was realised.

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