Lungu warns ‘get rich quick’ accountants

President Edgar Lungu says some accountants have now become enemies of the people because they have involved themselves in financial transgressions to quickly amass wealth at the expense of Zambians.

Speaking when he officiated at the East and Southern African Association of Accountant Generals (ESAAG) annual General Conference at Avani Hotel in Livingstone, President Lungu said accountants played a cardinal role in the transformation of Africa into a prosperous and fast-growing continent.

But he observed that some accountants had now become enemies of the people because they involved themselves in financial transgressions in order to quickly amass wealth at the expense of Zambians.

He bemoaned that most accountants failed to serve according to expectation because they focused on personal interest at the expense of serving the public.

“The role of accountants is cardinal in transforming Africa into a prosperous and fast-growing continent, the Africa we want. For us to achieve this vision, we need to build and put in place the right systems and perform our functions with integrity, professionalism and hard work. I wish to note that failure from most of our accountants to serve the people is not due to lack of knowledge, skill or competence. But it’s because of tided focus on personal interest at the expense of public interests. It is, indeed, disheartening that some accountants have become enemies of the people by involving themselves in financial transgressions in order to quickly amass wealth at the expense of our citizens. Our citizens want to see the taxes that they give to government to be used in national development, which will positively impact on their quality of life,” President Lungu said.

“Our citizens demand good schools, good health facilities, good roads, safe water and sanitation and access to electricity; among other basic human needs. As people responsible for public finances, how do you, therefore, become a force for the good of our people? There is no doubt that you need to become accountable and transparent. You need to ensure that public resources are targeted towards delivery of public goods and services to benefit the people in your respective countries. It is not enough for you accountants to produce financial reports, which our 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 said the PF government attached great importance to public finance management.

“The theme of the conference if not only appropriate, but also consistent with the public financial management reforms being undertaken in the region. My government attaches great importance to public finance management and the contribution of the East and Southern African Association of Accountants Generals, this is because of its role in enhancing accountability and management of public resources in the region. It is gratifying that Zambia has yet again been privileged to host this very important annual conference after the maiden one that was held in 2010, which was held here at the same venue,” he said.

The Head of State also implored accountants to raise awareness among citizens to take an interest in financial reports to enable them know how resources were being utilised.

“You need to realise that the manner in which your government uses public resources has an impact on development, job creation and indeed production. The Zambian government attaches great importance to public financial management to support our national agenda which is the Vision 2030, we have been implementing a special financial public management programme, which is aimed at strengthening the planning and budgeting process. As government, we have nothing to conceal, therefore, you can rest assured that our country’s parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is very active, hence the Executive arm of government is made to answer to any queries with regard to utilisation of public funds. It is very pleasing to note that these reforms have begun to yield fruits in Zambia such as reduction in the number of audit queries,” said President Lungu.

The ESAAG Conference, which was held under the theme: “Enhancing the effectiveness of Public Finance Management Systems in developing countries and emerging economies”, attracted over 1,500 delegates from 14 countries.

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