Officials in the Ministry of Health owe the government money amounting to over 60 percent on travelling per diem. As a result, the management of the ministry at the Local and Central level have been sensitised over the issue, with the Permanent Secretary Shenaaz El-halabi decrying the huge number of the workforce as one of the problems they are facing.
The ministry of health has a workforce of over 21,000 employees, and Shenaaz El-halabi attributes the accumulation of debt to an array of challenges which entail human resource capacity. On Thursday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) argued that the huge debt is as a result of negligence by the leadership at the ministry whom the committee accuses of failing to stem the wayward officers.
Member of Parliament for Selebi-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse, said the over P1.5 million owed by the Health officials is a lot of money and asked what was causing the failure to retrieve the much needed government money for other development services.
“The money owed by the employees on travelling impress accounts for 60% which is a lot of money. As much the employees are owed money by the government, the same government should ensure the money owed by the employees is retired,” Keorapetse said.
While admitting the blame on their part, El-halabi nudged PAC saying the ministry’s employees are currently frustrating their efforts to adequately supervise them.
“Despite remedial interventions to deal with the issue there are challenges we face including human resource capacity. But we have come with training sessions to sensitise our employees on this issue,” El-Halabi responded.
She however acknowledged that “accountability needs to be enforced including supervision. We will closely monitor and follow these financial requirement issues.”
Principal Auditor Cosmos Mogami was, however, not amused and he slammed the officials accusing them of negligence, citing the financial rule which dictates money to be deducted from the salaries of the employees failing to retire the money.
“You should be seen to instill discipline but this has not been done,” he said, adding there was no justification as to why the leadership did not take such a route.
Mogami called on the Ministry leadership to keep its house in order. El-halabi promised the PAC that appropriate measures would be taken against all perpetrators.