THE fisheries ministry underspent by N$ 6,7 million for the financial year ended March 2017, an audit report by auditor general Junias Kandjeke indicates.
Tabled in the National Assembly by finance deputy minister Natangwe Ithete recently, the report revealed that the underspending was due to that ministry cutting on some services and costs.
These include the cancelling a number of overseas and local trips by the offices of the minister and his deputy, reducing sea voyages, beach and river patrols, as well as maintenance work on research vessels.
According to the report, the cancellation of the N$1,1 million construction project of the ministry's office for the Kavango regions also contributed to the underexpenditure.
"The construction of the ministry's regional office did not progress as planned as the contractor who was awarded the contract could not fulfil its obligations," Kandjeke disclosed.
He thus urged the ministry to put measures in place to avoid underexpenditure, to ensure that planned projects are implemented, and that they comply with treasury instructions.
Documentary reviews by the auditor also revealed that the ministry has eight stock control points, but stocktaking was only conducted at five of these points.
"No treasury approval was obtained not to carry out stock-taking at the other three points," he noted.
The ministry stated in the report that due to budget cuts, they were unable to obtain treasury approval for not conducting stocktaking at the other points.
Kandjeke also established that the ministry only managed to collect N$108 million in fishing quota levies as opposed to the estimated N$122 million.
He said the undercollection was caused by a number of factors. One was the overlapping of the financial year versus fishing seasons, and fees payable by rock lobster fisheries taking into account the rebate margins, which implies that no quota fees are payable for the first four tonnes.
The report furthermore showed that the ministry provided study assistance to 12 staff members amounting to N$380 000.