Zambia president: Public sector accountants’ reports should be clearer

28 Feb 19

Public sector accountants are becoming “enemies of the people” because they are failing to produce clear financial reports that the public can understand, Zambia’s president has warned.

Edgar Lungu said some accountants focused too much on personal interest and wealth at the expense of serving the public with clear accounts of how public money is spent, at the East and Southern African Association of Accountant Generals general conference in Livingstone, Zambia, this week.

He added that “the role of accountants is cardinal in transforming Africa into a prosperous and fast-growing continent” but the “failure of accountants to serve the people” was stalling progress.  

“It is indeed disheartening that some accountants have become enemies of the people by involving themselves in financial transgression in order to quickly amass wealth at the expense of our citizens,” president Lungu said.

He suggested the “people responsible for public finances” should be transparent and accountable by producing clear financial reports, which the public can read and understand.

“You need to ensure that public resources are targeted towards delivery of public goods and services to benefit the people in your respective countries,” he said.

“It is not enough for you accountants to produce financial reports, which citizens cannot understand.

“Let us, therefore, endeavour to produce simplified financial reports where citizens can appreciate the link between the taxes paid and the goods and services provided by your respective governments.”

He explained that there is a “greater demand than ever before” by citizens in Africa for transparency and accountability in the management of public funds because they “want to see value” of their taxes.

The ESAAG conference is being held in Zambia this week under the theme ‘Enhancing the effectiveness of public financial management systems in developing and emerging economies’. It is attended by 1,500 delegates from 14 countries.

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