Source: Parly calls for parastatals’ audit | The Herald July 7, 2016
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
A Parliamentary Portfolio Committee says there is need for Government to order forensic audits at under-performing State parastatals and enterprises, among them the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Hwange Colliery Company Limited and Dete Refractories.
In its second report on the working conditions at NRZ, HCCL and Dete Refractories, the committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare said employees at the three firms were struggling to make ends meet as some of them were owed salaries dating back to 2014.
Zanu-PF MP for Mashonaland West Cde Goodluck Kwaramba chairs the committee.
“There is urgent need for the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Transport and Infrastructural Development to find effective long-term solutions to reverse the down turn at HCCL and NRZ,” said the committee.
“Immediate forensic audits of HCCL, Dete Refractories and other under-performing parastatals should be conducted in order to establish the state of affairs at these companies as such inquests have proved to be effective in this regard.
“For example, the Auditor General’s Narrative Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals of 2014, which among other issues, debunked the situation at the National Railways of Zimbabwe.”
The committee added that it was important for HCCL, NRZ and Dete Refractories to devise innovative ways of improving business and implement steps towards settlement of salary arrears in order to boost employees’ moral and ultimately productivity.
The MPs implored Dete Refractories, a manufacturer of tiles and bricks to vigorously seek local and regional markets for its products.
“NRZ should modernise its old equipment, which created high maintenance costs that results in uncompetitive pricing and services as compared to road transport.
“HCCL should earmark proceeds from some of its coal mining concessions for full medical aid subscriptions and school fees payments for its employees and their dependants since failure to access medication and education negatively impact on the lives of its workforce.
“The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing should support the local manufacturing industry through procurement of construction products such as tiles and bricks from Dete Refractories.
“The Government should assist NRZ in its recapitalisation drive by guaranteeing the loan for the implementation of recommendations of the Auditor General’s Narrative Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals of 2014.
These include regular review of monthly bank reconciliation statements and evaluation of investment properties to guard against fraud,” said the committee.
The legislators added that it was vital that under utilised company assets such as houses at the NRZ-Dete Station be rented out or sold to raise revenue for settling salary arrears.
“Rental charges on NRZ houses should also be scrapped to allow employees and their families to stay free of charge until the company resumes regular payment of full salaries,” said the committee.
“The above recommendations are to be effected by August 2016. Workers are key assets for the realisation of optimum output by organisations, which leads to a country’s economic prosperity.
“Hence, there is urgent need for concerted efforts to restore the dignity of workers because without workers, Zimbabwe’s socio-economic transformation cannot be achieved.”