via Parly demands Nieeb salary schedule – DailyNews Live by Kudzai Chawafambira 10 FEBRUARY 2014
Parliament has ordered the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) to submit its top executives’ salary schedule as part of efforts to ensure public accountability.
Nieeb is a government body created to implement the indigenisation programme.
This comes on the back of an expose’ of “obscene and astronomical” salaries earned by top management in State-owned institutions particularly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas).
In Parliament’s indigenisation and economic empowerment committee meeting held last thursday, Mashonaland West senator Priscah Mupfumira demanded to know Nieeb’s salaries.
“Recently we have heard numerous reports about the goings in as far as remuneration and allowances for senior executives in parastatals (is concerned). In the case of Nieeb, may we know who determines and authorises the executives’ packages?” she asked, adding “since you are a public institution, is the public in a position to know the figures?
“What percentage of your budgets goes to salaries and wages?”
She further questioned that out of the institution’s salaries and wages figure, what percentage constituted the senior executives’ salary bill.
However, Nieeb’s chief executive Wilson Gwatiringa could not immediately avail the figures but undertook to submit a report which would contain all the nitty gritties.
“What I and my team get paid is all approved by the board and our parent ministry. We are nowhere near the figures we are reading in the papers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gwatiringa told the committee that Nieeb was broke and urgently needed capital.
He said the board was failing to carry out its mandate due to limited funds.
Apart from government support, Nieeb is supposed to get dividends and shares — through its National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (Nieef) — from indigenised foreign-owned firms.
However, implementation of the empowerment policy was last year thrown off balance as some foreign companies failed to fully comply while other indigenisation deals were halted amid concerns that there were structuring flaws.
“As we pursued compliance with the law, we encountered a plethora of problems that include a misunderstanding of the programme, resistance by some companies, intransigence, avoidance and politicisation of the economic programme,” Gwatiringa said.
He added that at present, there was no legislation allowing them to collect levies while Nieef had not been capitalised, among other financial constraints.
“Though we made proposals and submissions on the levies, we still do not have the statutory instrument to collect them,” Gwatiringa said, adding that “we therefore, have been dependent on fiscal budgetary allocations since inception.”
He said the board has been grossly underfunded, receiving a $2,6 million allocation from Treasury out of a requested $10, 25 million in the 2014 National budget.
Gwatiringa said the situation was compounded by the fact that despite the meagre allocation, disbursement of the funds was in dribs and drabs.
“Previous experience has taught us that we do not normally get what we are allocated when it comes to disbursements as we are usually given 20 percent of the allocation.”
“If that trend continues, it means we are likely to get under $1 million,” he said.
He noted that it was unfortunate that Nieef is yet to be capitalised by Treasury and has no significant assets.