By Daniel Chigudu
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has called on government institutions and departments to timely update their websites in line with the government’s E-Government program currently underway.
Speaking recently, Minister Chinamasa said outdated government websites are in sharp contrast to the promotion of transparency and ease of access to information in the country.
“In this age of Information and Communication Technologies, well managed public institutions’ websites provide vital information, and hence are tools of enhancing transparency over government processes and operations.
“Unfortunately, most websites are currently outdated and lack timely updating, that way compromising and depriving the public access to information.
“Government, through the Office of the President and Cabinet, will require all line ministries and departments to efficiently manage their websites in line with current modern trends, as part of the ongoing E-Government program,” he said.
According to the Auditor General, most government departments are still operating on manual systems, while a few have partially migrated to use technology.
These manual systems have resulted in many government officials taking advantage of them to enrich themselves using public funds on numerous occasions.
The Finance Minister said calling on institutions to account for public resources also requires monitoring; adding that timely compilation of statistics becomes important.
He added that timely and reliable statistics are also vital for planning by both government and the private sector entities, which calls for capacitation of data compilation at the respective institutions, including the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZimStat), Zimra, the Reserve Bank, among others.
Chinamasa said ZimStat is working on a number of important surveys that relate to the development of the country and that his ministry will ensure they are funded to fulfill their mandate of providing statistics and important data.
‘ZimStat of late, has produced quite a number of important publications and reports such as the 2012 Population Census, Prices, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey, Production statistics, including agriculture, industrial, production, manufacturing, business tendency, transport, power generation and mineral production surveys, Consumer Price Indices and services, among others .
“Major on-going surveys relate to updating data on the above sectors, and also included surveys on tourism, household consumption patterns, state of rural and water sanitation, as well as other crime and community services statistics, which are all important for development planning purposes.
“Treasury will, therefore, be prioritising resource allocation to ZimStat, to ensure that the agency fully and efficiently fulfill its mandate of availing timely and reliable data,” he said.