By Nevson Mpofu
Fiscal transparency and Accountability took to great heights of discussions currently on going in Zimbabwe. This comes at a time the Government is to look forward on open up Business for Investors. Agriculture, Manufacturing Industry, Tourism and Mining sector development for economic growth have come out as first priority areas.
Lack of transparency and accountability has over the past four decades reduced this economic growth and development in the four main sectors .Companies and Industries worked at low production, with low productivity and total Gross Output. This ultimately lowered Gross Domestic Product and National Domestic Product. Growth per capita slowed down Human Development.
Experts in policy dialogue on Fiscal Transparency and Accountability attending a one day workshop conducted by the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit [ZEPARU] in Harare today concluded on issues which have over time contributed to economic challenges.
Pfungwa Kunaka , Principal Director of Fiscal Policy Development in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said the Government has found the issue of corruption , lack of transparency and accountability as one of the thorny issue causing the economic challenges currently faced .
He however pointed out that failure of the Zimbabwean economy to move forward well led to lack of Investor confidence. He however further reiterated on the move to introduce Devolution in the country. This , he said can be a great move to improve on transparency and accountability in all sectors of the economy , in the corporate World , Government and private sector .
‘’Devolution can be one strategy meant to empower communities socially, economically and politically in all the provinces. This at last empowers on community voices on issues directly affecting them.
‘’The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development accepts wishes of the people. At the same time, we understand that people have grievances over the use of their 2% going towards debt payment.
‘’We are therefore coming up with the Incentive Systems for Compliance in-order to make the Economy move well in an accountable and transparency manner. It is also important to come up with Independent Bodies to watch on what goes on in Government like ZIMRA where massive corruption took toll .’’
‘’It is also of importance to note Civil Society is playing a watching role on issues of transparency and accountability. In-order to address the tax problem, we need to engage civil society on the general population views and opinion’’.
Working together with Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit, the Government is looking at strengthening Best practices on policy implementation and recommendation. It has been agreed and well received by Z EPARU that there is need to act on the recommendations of the Auditor General. Secondly the need to hand over civil society and the people’s concerns to be addressed by Parliament. This exercises Parliamentary and Participatory Democracy.
ZEPARU Director Dr Gibson Chigumira said ZEPARU is currently working flat out to address concerns of the general public through supporting transparency and accountability in all sectors which are of benefit to the people. He said quarterly reports on the concerns of the public through media are important in up-dating communities on issues affecting them.
He also said how to address them and come with solutions is vital in setting the ball in the fair playing field. He said the main objective of the workshop is to gather opinion of the Civil Society and Parliament on issues of transparency and accountability.
‘’Fiscal performance accountability and transparency is very important in budget formulation and implementation process representation. Therefore ZEPARU, stands to promote fiscal performance for the sake of the people.
‘’ Let us work to foster economic growth and development through qualitative research. At a greater note , Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives build further more at developing the sector through promotion of maximum productivity and production meant to benefit the country and the people .’’
‘’It is vital for Parliament to play a responsibility of standing on the side of the people since they are the ones working with constituencies. In what is proper management of the whole system, strengthening Parliament over-sight role in expenditures builds up more on transparency?
‘’As Civil Society is moving towards lobbying for total change to see to it that the people are well represented , there is need to put the Government to accountability and transparency. It is always important in-order to address issues of poverty and vulnerability caused by corruption and lack of proper management ‘’, he said.
It was noted that accountability and transparency if well exercised calls upon Investor confidence to work in the four main sectors of the Economy. The four main sectors are Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing Industry and Tourism.