The new Public Finance Management [PFM] Regulations have been drafted. New regulations are necessary to provide the detailed rules to flesh out the broad principles laid down by the PFM Act. These draft regulations are drawn up by the Minister of Finance under the PFM Act, which replaced the old Audit and Exchequer Act and State Loans and Guarantees Act. The Ministry of Finance has circulated the draft to its known stakeholders and Veritas has permission to circulate it more widely. [Electronic version of draft regulations available from [email protected] Also available: electronic version of PFM Act.]
Constructive comments and suggestions would be welcomed by the Ministry of Finance, and should be submitted as soon as possible to the Deputy Accountant General, Edwin M Zvandasara, Ministry of Finance, new Government Complex, Samora Machel Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets; telephone 04 793782; fax 04 250615; email [email protected]
More about the Draft Regulations
The lengthy draft – 77 pages, 12 Parts, 282 sections – covers in great detail aspects of public finance management, including annual Budget preparation. Part headings and content are as follows:
Part I Preliminary
This Part contains definitions and lays down the purpose and scope of the regulations. They will apply to Ministries, public and constitutional entities, and local authorities.
Part II Roles, Responsibilities and Powers
This Part outlines the responsibilities of the Minister of Finance, other Ministers, local authority councils and officials, CEOs of public entities and constitutional entities, and permanent secretaries of Ministries. There are strict rules for delegation of powers and responsibilities.
Part III Fiscal Responsibility Requirements
This Part states fiscal responsibility principles, spells out in great detail what must be set out in the Minister of Finance’s annual Budget Strategy Paper [BSP], requires an annual Government Economic and Fiscal Update and Year End Report as at June each year, a Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update before any general election, and prompt reporting to Parliament of any Government deviations from fiscal responsibility principles and objectives. An “external review” provision obliges the Government to make the BSP, and all these reports and updates available to the public and interest groups.
Part IV Annual Budget Preparation and Approval
This important Part spells out a a detailed timetable for every stage of the preparation of the annual Budget, e.g., the Budget Strategy Paper to be given to Parliament and public by 31st July and Budget to be presented to Parliament by 1st November. It also lists the Budget documents that must be provided to Parliament and the public: on the Internet on the same day as the Budget and in printed form as soon as possible.
Part V Revenue and Expenditure Management
This Part goes into such matters as the responsibility of receivers of revenue and accounting officers, payment of salaries and wages. There is a statement of the principles according to which official fees and charges should be fixed, including reference to the cost of providing a service and its value to those receiving it, and prior consultation with those affected.
Part VI Cash Management and Banking
This Part contains rules designed to ensure prompt receipt in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of all revenue. For example, ZIMRA must deposit its takings in the relevant CRF accounts every day. Ministries, and public and constitutional entities cannot have bank accounts with overdraft facilities.
Part VII Asset Management
This Part covers asset recording, valuation and reporting; disposal and leasing of assets; compliance with ethical standards.
Part VIII Liability Management
This Part covers management of losses and claims; loans, guarantees and other State commitments; and money and property held in trust.
Part IX Accounting and Reporting Requirements
This Part deals with accounting standards and records, use of suspense accounts, retention of financial information, the preparation of reports by Ministries, reporting to Parliament by the Ministry of Finance.
Part X Internal Audit and Internal Control
This Part provides for audit committees and the responsibilities of internal auditors.
Part XI: Accountability Frameworks
This Part goes into detail on financial requirements for local authorities and State-owned enterprises, corporate plans, and reporting by and review of Ministries, local authorities, public and constitutional entities and State-owned enterprises.
Part XII Enforcement
This Part deals with investigation of allegations of financial misconduct and the imposition of sanctions by the Ministry of Finance. It provides for consultation with the relevant Parliamentary committee before the Ministry of Finance invokes sanctions [e.g., withholding of funds] against Ministries or public or constitutional entities. The Ministry of Finance will be obliged to publish [on the Internet]:
• the name, position, offence and sentence for each person convicted of an offence under the PFM Act
• where sanctions are applied against a Ministry or a public or constitutional entity, the name of the Ministry, public or constitutional entity, the issue giving rise to the imposition of the sanction, and the sanction applied.
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