Saturday, September 26, 2020

CEDA’s ledger cloaked in secrecy for five years – Auditor General

They are usually the first in line to receive government funds, but when it comes to disclosing performance, they lag behind. 

The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has become notorious for playing hide and seek with its financials. The state-owned development financing institution has not shared its audited financials with the auditor general in the last five years. 

The citizen enterprises development agency recently revamped its lending guidelines, drawing massive interest from wannabe entrepreneurs. The agency relies heavily on government to fund business enterprises and has hinted that it will also borrow money somewhere else to improve its liability. CEDA’s current financials remain unknown to the public. 

“CEDA had not submitted their annual financial statements and the management letter. In response, the acting Chief Executive Officer stated that the financial statements of the Agency for the financial year ended 31 March 2019 were still being audited and the reasons advanced were that there were initial delays in commencing the audit for CEDA Group Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2019,” wrote auditor general Pulane Letebele in the auditor general report for financial year 2018/2019 released last week. 

The agency is not alone in playing truant. The beleaguered Air Botswana also did not submit the required financial statements and reports for the year under review, and has indicated that it would not be able to submit the accounts within the stipulated time frames, as the audit of the accounts had not been finalised.

Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority, dogged by allegations of maladministration, did not provide the auditor general with its financial and therefore had not been able to review the audited accounts of the regulator. 

Struggling Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) also did not submit the audited financial statements for the financial year under review, nor explained their inability to do so. The state-owned meat monopoly is in the process of being unbundled and privatised, following years of losses. 

Botswana Savings Bank failed to issue their annual financials, attributing delays to the challenges encountered in the implementation of the IFRS 9 Expected Credit Losses (ECL) Model which was subsequently approved by the external auditors. The state bank is in the process of being privatised and commercialised. 

Under siege National Development Bank explained that it was unable to submit the audited financial statements because the audit was yet to be completed. The external auditors had undertaken to complete the IFRS 9 audit by January 2020, which was not achieved.

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