NSFAS Has Billions Of Rands Worth Of Irregular Expenditure
Despite currently experiencing a shortfall of funds to support first time entering students, NSFAS reportedly has an irregular expenditure of over R500 billion. Members of Parliament are now expressing their displeasure with the financial aid scheme and want answers.
NSFAS has been described as ‘dysfuntional’ and ‘not fit for purpose’. Now, as it came to light that NSFAS does not have the adequate funds available (just yet, that is, we all remain hopeful) to fund first time entering students, it’s also been reported that NSFAS has an irregular expenditure amounting to R522 billion.
Irregular expenditures could refer to expenses which didn’t go through the correct accounting and approval processes.
The financial aid scheme’s former Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, has previously said that some irregular expenditures can be corrected with journal entries and is a result of many things including, the wrong institutions getting paid or staff committing fraud.
NSFAS officials put the blame for these issues on a problematic IT system and non-performance by staff members.
Member of Parliament (MP), Sakhumzi Somyo from the ANC said:
Money is being spent unnecessarily. Students are crying in the streets, they don’t have money. NSFAS can’t fund them and you have duplicate employees in the offices.
Another MP, Mkhuleko Hlengwa from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said, “I think we must just accept the fact that the institution collapsed and it is now incumbent on the new accounting authority and executives and the CEO to build it anew”.
MPs have said that NSFAS’ system is obsolete and costs them R3 million a year.
The system is said to be managed in Jamaica by “people who are charging us exorbitant amounts every time they need to fix something on it”.
Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, said that NSFAS and the department does not have adequate funds for first year students but made it clear that this does not mean they don’t have funds at all.
He blamed this shortfall on departmental budget cuts which occurred before the pandemic.
Many now question why this issue is being brought up and that the department along with the financial aid scheme had time to figure it out.