Lack of ‘smart’ skills to blame for financial errors, hospital bosses tell parliament

Thursday October 10 2019

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Referral hospitals are blaming the financial mismanagement for which they were recently quizzed by the Public Accounts Committee. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Referral hospitals linked to abuse of the public funds’ account blame their woes on the lack of skills among workers in handling the advanced smart financial management system which has been in place since 2016.

A number of hospitals named in the 2017/18 auditor general's reports over financial mismanagement, said that the shift from the excel financial reporting system has exposed them to errors.

A review of the auditor general’s report presented in parliament by the public accounts committee shows that millions of francs have been lost since the synchronised computer-based system was adopted.

“Most hospitals have huge discrepancies between the money highlighted in the accountability account and what appears in their financial reports; there are also executed tenders with no supporting documents,” said committee member Marie Médiatrice Izabiriza.

For example, the report shows that the Muhima Hospital has an account of Rwf72 million worth of tenders that it did not award. But the management said that due to the limited skills on the Smart FMS, the staff failed to upload the information.

In July 2016, the government ordered that referral hospitals shift to the decentralised financial management system. However, the hospitals’ management have said that workers were not conversant with the systems leading to errors.

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“The financial discrepancies are a result of the limited skills on the operability of the financial management system among our employees,” said Louise Murekatete, the procurement officer at Muhima Hospital.

According to the Ministry of Health, inspection in hospitals since 2014/15, has elaborated the incompetence among staff on financial management.

“We have embarked on bolstering the governance structure in the hospitals. In some hospitals, physicians were acting as director-generals while directors of finance studied social sciences; and during their days off, they asked nurses to work in their capacities,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi told parliament.

Dr Nyemazi further said that the Ministry has engaged that of Finance and Labour on a proposal to overhaul the management structure of the hospitals, which would see the director generals handling both clinical and quality activities.

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