Let’s keep our watchdog funded

Editorial

THE Department of Implementation and Rural Development must be properly funded so that it can perform one of its key roles, which is to inspect and monitor projects in the districts.
The department’s role helps the government deliver improved services to the provinces, districts and local level governments. It also administers the service improvement programme, which includes the monitoring and inspection of projects, and evaluation of acquittals and reports.
However, this important work can only be performed if the department is properly funded to allow its officers to go out and do their job.
Take for example the case of a school inspector who has the responsibility of monitoring teachers’ performance. To do his or her job, the inspector needs to visit the school, to observe the teachers and then to rate them accordingly. The inspector’s report goes on the teachers’ performance report for appraisal at the end of the year.
The same principle applies for DIRD. They monitor projects that are initiated by members of parliament and funded through the Provincial Service Improvement Programme.
District MPs receive a lot of money to use back home. And since public funds are being distributed right down to the district level, the auditing, too, must be done at the district level.
There must be compliance and monitoring of where the money has been spent and a stocktake done of the inventory of publicly funded properties and machinery bought.
As roads are built and electricity and water connected to villages and communities, and provincial and district administrators take charge of schools, health facilities and economic activities, acquittals are required to show where the money has gone.
However, everything comes back to funding at the source. We have trust and confidence in Finance and Rural Development Minister James Marape that he will provide the funding that will allow the monitoring and reporting processes to work effectively.
Marape, himself, wants all funds given out so far to be acquitted for before funding for 2018 is released.
For that to happen he needs to chase those MPs from the previous parliament who have yet to provide acquittals of the funds they have sent.
If those MPs can’t provide the acquittals then they must be
reported to police for investigation.

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