NYDA hits back at irregular spending allegations

"Last year, we achieved 85.7% of our key performance indicators," chief executive Steven Ngobeni told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"This year, we have achieved 90%. To us, this sounds like an improvement, contrary to the reports we have read."

Auditor general Terence Nombembe indicated on Tuesday that procurement procedures of the NYDA were in tatters.

In the NYDA's annual report tabled in Parliament, Nombembe noted more than R133-million in irregular expenditure.

That meant more than two-thirds of the agency's spending did not comply with national treasury regulations.

Nombembe highlighted various gaps in the agency's financial reporting and pointed out that the NYDA management did not submit quarterly budgetary reports, as required by law.

This prompted some opposition MPs to call for the NYDA to be disbanded.

Matters of concern
Ngobeni said the AG's office had raised only two matters of concern in the latest annual report, compared to five the previous year.

These concerned material impairments and irregular expenditure.

The first case, Ngobeni said, concerned impaired debts to young entrepreneurs.

In the previous financial year, impaired loans had increased by 36% year-on-year.

However, this growth had slowed to 15% for the 2012 financial year.

"This means less and less young people are defaulting on the loans being given to them," Ngobeni said.

As a developmental institution, the NYDA appreciated the high-risk nature of its clientele.

Wasteful expenditure
Irregular expenditure was not fruitless and wasteful expenditure, nor was it unauthorised.

"It does not even suggest any suspicion of corruption and maladministration," said Ngobeni.

The irregular expenditure had been incurred for goods and services authorised in line with NYDA policies and procedures, Ngobeni said.

However, some national treasury regulations were not adequately complied with.

Decentralised supply chains and a lack of capacity, had resulted in poor record keeping, and, in some cases, goods being procured from suppliers with expired tax clearance certificates.

"We have since taken corrective actions as far back as 2011," he said. – Sapa

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