Corruption levels alarming, admits Chinamasa

CORRUPTION in both public and private sectors has reached “alarming proportions” and is stifling growth, revenue mobilisation efforts as well as scaring away investors, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said. Minister Chinamasa said given the resource constraints in the economy and losses through corruption and mismanagement, it was necessary that more effort be applied to establish robust systems and enforcing rules, regulations and procedures. In the public sector, Minister Chinamasa said the Auditor General has revealed rampant corruption and inefficiencies across Government ministries, departments and agencies. “Corruption is an additional cost to doing business. It scares away potential investors, represents a leakage of resources from the mainstream economy and deprives Government of much-needed fiscal resources,” said Minister Chinamasa while presenting the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Statement last Thursday. “I applaud current Government efforts to fight the disease, but certainly much more needs to be done. “Our efforts in this regard should be more visible in order to restore and instil public confidence.” Minister Chinamasa said there was need to enhance follow up on and recommendations of the Auditor General, who has exposed corruption in public institutions. Auditor General Ms Mildred Chiri has over the last few years revealed that Government may have been prejudiced of hundreds of millions of dollars by a number of public entities. These include Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, which violated good governance practices and standing rules. But despite the revelations, no individuals have been prosecuted over the corruption allegations. Minister Chinamasa said attention would be placed on redressing revenue leakages at border posts, “as well as in other areas, including leakages involving such natural resource endowments as diamonds and gold. It is estimated Zimbabwe could have lost $14 billion potential revenue from diamonds. It is also estimated the country could be losing about $1,8 billion annually through illicit financial flows. The minister said tightening of controls that enhance more efficient utilisation of retention funds will be effected. Analysts say it is now time for Government to “walk the talk” on corruption. “They always talk about prosecuting corruption,” said an analyst with a local stockbroking firm. We talk but we never walk. Our media has done so well to expose corruption involving senior Government officials but we have not seen any action taken agonists these officials.”

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