GOVERNMENT has raised alarm over the looting of funds meant for combating the COVID-19 disease in the country by government ministries and departments under the guise of domestic allowances.
By Michael Gwarisa
In a letter addressed to various departments and ministries, Finance and economic development ministry permanent secretary, George Guvamatanga said there has been an increase in payment runs requesting for processing of domestic allowances narrated as COVID-19 payments during the lockdown period.
As you are aware, the pronouncement of the lockdown through statutory Instrument 81 and 82 clearly called for mitigatory measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and involved limited or no movement across cities and towns and hence reduce domestic expenses.
“While treasury appreciates the need to incentivise staff who are reporting for duty and risking their health to infection by the Coronavirus, payment of such allowances should be guided by the Committee on the harmonisation of conditions of service and approved by treasury,” said Guvamatanga.
He added line ministries were now prioritising of payments despite the call by treasury in its letter dated 20 March 2020, requesting Accounting Officers to identify non-wage savings from their respective vote to be ring-fenced towards COVID-19 pandemic interventions.
“In this regard, Treasury, s directing all line ministries to stop processing of domestic allowances and to reverse all transactions processed in the PFM system and redirect such resources towards COVID-19 interventions.”
Meanwhile, millions of dollars have been pledged towards the Zimbabwe COVID-19 battle.