By Pieter Ziegler
Harare City Council continues operating in the dark financially as it still doesn’t have an operating system 4 years later.
The matter resurfaced again at the presentation of the 2024 budget with Finance Committee Chairperson Costa Mande promising a system next year.
“The City has been faced with ERP challenges that has affected revenue collection and the production of timeous financial statements.
“We have a tender that is running for the procurement of a new Enterprise Resource Planning System.
“We hope that by the beginning of the 2024 financial year we will have a system that will be running for effective financial management.
ERP refers to a type of software that organizations use to manage day-to-day business activities.
They include accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, and supply chain operations.
A complete ERP suite also includes enterprise performance management, software that helps plan, budget, predict, and report on an organization’s financial results.
A Long History
Council has been operating without a requisite accounting system since 2019.
This was after the supplier of its Enterprise Resource Planning System, Quill Associates withdrew its software following a contractual wrangle.
Parliament has previously slammed Harare for operating without a proper accounting system.
The scenario has the potential prejudicing the local authority of millions of dollars.
A report of the Public Accounts Committee’s sub-Committee on Local Authorities tabled in the National Assembly after the Auditor General’s report of also raises concerns about the same issue.
The 2020 Audit report stated that the absence of the requisite ERP could have prejudiced the city of approximately US$190 million.
This was the amount that could not be verified then with the sub-committee saying the money could have increased by now.
The sub-committee said the council acted suspiciously by engaging incapacitated and expensive SAGE for US$300 000.
This was after cancelling Quill Associates contract which was worth US$75 000 and was effective and cheaper.
Former Harare Mayor Jacob Mafune also clashed with council management over the issue.
He accused the IT department of being complicit in the bungling that has failed Harare to have an ERP.
“The IT department is never going to work.
“There is an addiction to corruption of immense appetite.
“We don’t have internet at Cleveland house, for functions of the city we are still operating on a manual basis yet we have one of the biggest IT departments.”
With growing debts, an absent ERP and residents reluctant to pay rates Harare’s recently unveiled US$578 million 2024 budget could be more of the same.