The New Times (Kigali)

10 November 2012

Rwanda: Look Into District Accountants' Concerns Over Heavy Workload

opinion

News that district accountants are getting crunched by heavy workload is indeed worrying given the critical role they play in ensuring proper public financial management of tax payers' money.

The Nyamagabe district accountant is quoted in the media as saying that besides her role as the district accountant, she always monitors and posts transactions for 186 non-budget agencies including the district's sectors, public primary and secondary schools, health centres among others.

Even more dismaying is the fact that this state of affairs is not solely confined to this particular district. Each of the country's 30 districts are said to have just one accountant.

The Office of the Auditor General indicates that hitherto, no district has been able to post transactions of non budget agencies.

The same office specifies that a total of Rwf2billion was posted to incorrect accounts in its 2010/11 report. This, however, is not a surprise given the sheer amount of work to be handled by one person.

It is thus only natural that the district accountants may end up getting tired, feel overworked and under-appreciated, and show signs of stress. The government has to consider what the costs are in terms of employee retention, well-being, happiness, morale, productivity or endurance. Not without warning, all these aspects would be on the wane.

Now is a great time for government to reassess the heavy workload that the district accountants are lamenting about. If not, instances of wastefulness as clearly indicated in the Auditor General's report shall continue.

Due to the low number per capita of accountants in the country, Government must make both short and long term measures to ease the burden on the districts.

As a long term goal, it must make a huge social investment in accountants and accounting technologies in order to publish sensible public accounts in order.

In the meantime, it could hire part-time accountants as a stop-gap measure.

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