The Ministry of Finance says starting next month, it will no longer use cheques to pay government suppliers of goods and services, but will instead electronically transfer money directly into company accounts.

In a statement issued today by ministry Public Relations Manager Chileshe Kandeta, Ministry of Finance Accountant General Dr Dick Chellah Sichembe said the ministry would no longer make payments to suppliers of goods and services who make claims using handwritten or manually generated Local Purchase Orders (LPO).

According to Kandeta, this information was contained in a notice that was issued to all ministries and government spending agencies for onward communication to suppliers of goods and services.

“We are in a computer age and therefore, manually generated LPO’s will be rendered invalid. Henceforth, suppliers of goods and services to the government will be expected to ensure that they collect electronically generated local purchase orders from client ministries and other government spending agencies before seeking payments from the Ministry of Finance. I will also detail all accounting staff in the government to be on the look-out and ensure that this new system succeeds by not passing any payment which is based on manually generated LPO’s,” Dr Sichembele said.

“The Ministry of Finance has been implementing the treasury single account system from 5th January, 2015 to date. The treasury single account is an electronic payment system that aims to ensure that payments for goods and services are transferred electronically to the beneficiary’s bank account. Effectively, this system has negated the cheque payment system.”

Dr. Sichembe also gave an assurance that all procurement processes would continue to be done by the respective ministries and other spending agencies seeking goods and services.

“In this process, the treasury is only responsible for transmitting the payments on behalf of all Ministries and other government spending agencies that are installed with an IFMIS interface. The Ministry of Finance is also working with the Zambia Revenue Authority to ensure that all suppliers and goods and services to the government have Bank accounts and TPIN’s. Going forward, the directorate of the treasury services in the Ministry of Finance, through respective ministries and other government spending agencies will be running help desks to ensure that suppliers of goods and services are effectively sensitised on the electronic payment system in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the handling, management, and administration of public resources,” said Dr Sichembe.