HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has put plans in motion to restructure the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) as a way of making the parastatal more effective and reduce corruption.
Over the past few years Zinara has been under fire from various stakeholders in the economy over its failure to upgrade roads in many parts of the country despite the fact that the department is collecting toll fees from the motoring public on a daily basis.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Friday said the parastatal will remain under the ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development “but with a focus on revenue collection and not on technical road construction activities”.
“The ministry is challenged to ensure that there is improved transparency and accountability in the operation of Zinara,” he said in an update on State enterprises reform.
This comes after a recent report compiled by a five-member independent committee which revealed that Zinara lost over $119 million to two of its managers through shady deals and unprocedural tenders according to the latest report findings.
The special commission, comprising Elias Ndlovu, Dumisani Kufaruwenga, Philip Chitsika, Tendai Mavhunga and Abraham Muza, was appointed last October by Transport minister Joram Gumbo to investigate all projects that were undertaken by Zinara in the five-year period between 2011-2016, including the $206 million rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Mutare highway, after a forensic audit revealed financial rot at the parastatal.
The report has since been submitted to Mnangagwa to implement its recommendations.
Meanwhile, Chinamasa indicated that government has been consistent in emphasising the critical contribution expected from the State enterprises and parastatal (SEPs) sector towards the revival of Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes.
“In this regard government has for some time been pursuing a programme of SEPs reform designed to enhance performance, improve service-delivery and to bring more order, discipline and rationality to the sector as a whole,” he said.
“This includes promoting good corporate governance in the SEPs sector, undertaking an overall Strategic Portfolio Review, individual SEPs Performance Reviews and, conducting Forensic Audits where the need arises in some SEPs,” he added.
The Treasury boss noted that the Grain Marketing Board is expected to complete work on delinking the Strategic Grain Reserve and the parastatal’s commercial operations.
“Grain Marketing Board will continue to manage the Strategic Grain Reserve on behalf of government. All costs directly related to the management of the Strategic Grain Reserve will be borne by government,” Chinamasa said, adding that the expenses will include storage costs which will be provided for under the fiscus.
Chinamasa also indicated that government is restructuring the national power utility, Zesa Holdings.
“A single Zesa Board will be established to take charge of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Zesa Enterprises. The Boards of ZETDC, ZPC and Zesa Enterprises are to be dissolved,” he said.
“The Board will be allowed to engage strategic partners under ZPC operations where necessary. The strategic and Zesa-specific activities of Powertel will be incorporated under ZETDC whilst excess telecommunication capacity will be included in the merger between Zarnet and Africom,” he added.
— The Financial Gazette