Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement utilised only $4 million from the $24 million it received from Treasury for irrigation rehabilitation due to lack of capacity to implement its programmes.
The Ministry also failed to develop and maintain 10 000 hectares of small-holder irrigation schemes despite receiving $12 million for that.
According to the Auditor General Mrs Mildred Chiri’s 2018 report, the balance of the $24 million received by the ministry was never used and is still available.
She recommended that the ministry should review its management and implementation methodology of Government programmes so that efficiency is enhanced.
“The Ministry received $24 million for irrigation rehabilitation and managed to only utilise $4 million. This was caused by lack of capacity by the department to implement the agreed programmes.
“Contrary to the set targets under the departmental integrated performance agreement for the division of irrigation development, the Ministry could not develop and maintain 10 000 hectares of the small holder irrigation schemes, despite the fact that the department of irrigation received $12 million for the implementation of the programmes during the year under review,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said the ministry only managed to rehabilitate 5 746 hectares against a planned target of 9 500 hectares.
In response, authorities in the ministry said performance of the department of irrigation was heavily affected by lack of capacity.
“As such the irrigation department would like to recommend modalities for capacitation of irrigation sector companies with working capital so that they can deliver on time. Most irrigation equipment has a foreign exchange component and it is recommended that a budget with foreign exchange provision be made so that the department may align its targets in tandem with the availed resources.
“It’s important to note that for those programmes where foreign exchange was availed, the department managed to achieve its targets,” said the ministry.
Mrs Chiri said she also observed that the department of irrigation bought 10 vehicles from a local company but only six were delivered.
“The vehicles were bought from Solution Motors amounting to $518 850 on December 19, 2017. The department only received six motor vehicles out of the 10 that were paid for in advance. The Ministry did not seek redress from the supplier for the remaining four vehicles worth $207 540, which were not delivered.
“Furthermore, in terms of the technical specifications of the contract, Solutions Motors was supposed to have delivered the motor vehicles with canopies and bull bars and all the six vehicles delivered had no such accessories,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said the supplier cited failure to access foreign currency as the cause for non-performance.
Mrs Chiri advised the ministry to engage the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to seek guidance on the matter.
The Auditor-General also observed that nine motor vehicle registration books were missing from the respective motor vehicle files hence she was not able to confirm whether the vehicles were registered.
“Furthermore, three Toyota Land Cruiser Prados that were acquired in 2017 were yet to be registered as at the time of my report. Although I was given an explanation that the paper work was still being sorted, I was not availed with a justification of why the registration of the vehicles was taking too long,” she said. — @pamelashumba1