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Covid-19 Blamed for Agriculture Underspending of Millions

Staff Writer

The auditor-general, Junius Kandjeke, said the agriculture ministry underspent in about ten directorates, while the directorate of water resources management was the only one spent during the 202/2021 financial year.

Some of the directorates that underspent are the office of the minister  (N$ 502 674.05); administration (N$24 811 981.43); Research, Development and Training (N$ 5 902 393.87); Main division 07: Planning, Pricing, Marketing and Co-operation (N$ 6 904 613.11) as well as the Information Technology (N$ 1 703 815.50).

Others are the directorate for Emergency Relief (N$ 1 031.89); Valuation and Estate Management (N$ 1 580 692.61); Land Survey and Land Mapping (N$ 4 443 409.78), and the Centralised Registration (N$ 2 319 513.95).

Kandjeke said the minister’s office underspent because few trips were undertaken during the people due to Covid-19, while the underspending in the administration was caused by virementation of funds that was done very late in March 2021.

“Another contributing factor to the underspending was the vacant positions that were not filled during the financial year under review, including the procurements that could not be awarded due to bidders not meeting the requirements and thus prolonged the procurement process until the financial year-end,” the auditor said.

A broken transformer at Mashare Agricultural Development Institute (MADI), water pump parts at Bagani Research Station, and the monitoring and evaluation system server under Namibia Agricultural Machination and seed Improvement Project (NAMSIP) caused the underspending within the research, development and training division.

The planning, pricing and marketing division could not use the entire budget because the vacant positions advertised during the financial year under review could not be filled, and no interview was conducted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company awarded the tender to procure information technology equipment requested for an extension due to the Covid-19 pandemic; hence the procurement time frame lapsed, and the financial year closed before the consignment could be delivered. This caused the underspending by the Information Technology division.

The land survey and mapping division did not utilise its budget after the chief valuer positions became vacant, and the ministry could not fill the positions although they advertised. The available valuers could not travel because of the Covid-10 lockdowns.

The accounting officer reported that 12 vehicles were acquired for a total amount of N$ 7 903 934.03. However, the general ledger under account code 112 showed an amount of N$ 90 118.87 regarding vehicles, while the invoices submitted reflected a total amount ofN$ 7 485 084.01.

The auditor found unauthorised expenditure in two main divisions of N$ 5 887 565.62.

“Although Treasury approval was obtained to utilise certain expected savings for the defrayal of expenditure through virements during the year, 15 operational subdivisions and five development subdivisions were exceeded by an amount of N$ 13 212 232.59 and N$ 10 622 942.14 respectively,” the auditor-general further said.

Staff Writer

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