In the next two weeks, legislators are expected to take delivery of new vehicles under the Parliamentary vehicle loan scheme amid reports that some of the lawmakers have been using public transport to carry out their duties.
The Sunday Mail understands that each lawmaker has been handed a US$50 000 cap from which they can purchase more than one vehicle.
Indications are that the bulk of the vehicles will be imported, a factor that has worried domestic automobile industry players who say they have the capacity to produce top of the range off-road vehicles.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda said delivery of the vehicles is imminent.
“We are finalising the arrangements and we expect that within a week or so, the MPs will have their vehicles. We are in constant communication with Treasury over the matter and they have been giving us assurances.
“The scheme, as has been the norm, is a loan payable over a period of five years.”
Mr Chokuda said the MPs need the vehicles to service their constituencies in line with their roles of representing the people.
Asked if Parliament had struck a deal with local vehicle assemblers for the supply of the vehicles, Mr Chokuda said: “It is really up to the individual MPs and the types of vehicles they want. They are free to negotiate their contracts with the local industry players.”
MDC chief whip Mr Prosper Mutseyami said most Members of Parliament from his party were struggling to reach their constituencies due to lack of vehicles.
“There are some MPs who are using public transport to get to the people. This makes it very difficult for them to do their work,” he said.
“It also makes them lose their dignity if we have a situation where an Honourable Member of Parliament disembarks from a commuter omnibus to be received by the community,” he said.
Mr Mutseyami implored Parliament to also address other matters pertaining to the welfare of the legislators.
“It is not only about the vehicles, but other matters such as allowances and the Constituency Development Fund,” he said.
“We are not receiving our allowances on time and we are also worried that the ($50 000) CDF has been eroded by inflation. lt will not do much to uplift our constituencies.”
Zanu-PF chief whip Cde Pupurai Togarepi, who has been on record saying the revolutionary party is prepared to do without the vehicles, advised his party’s MPs to take the vehicles only if they need them.
“We are glad that Treasury has managed to source the funds to purchase the vehicles for the MPs. We encourage those that need the vehicles to take advantage of the scheme, but if there are others that already have worthy vehicles, we encourage them not to take-up the vehicles if they do not need to,” he said.
Quest Motors managing director Mr Tariq Adam said he was disappointed that no firm deal had been struck with his company to supply the MPs with locally assembled vehicles.
“There has been nothing from them in terms of local production support,” he said