via Zim diplomats face eviction – Newsday October 28, 2015
A NUMBER of Zimbabwean diplomats based in foreign countries have received eviction notices, as the government has reportedly failed to pay their bills and rentals, it has been established.
by Xolisani Ncube
Acting secretary for Foreign Affairs David Hamadziripi told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs that some embassies were in a sorry state, as the country’s Treasury was hamstrung by lack of funds and in arrears of over $50 million.
“As at June 30, 2015, our budget was funded only to the tune of 25% despite the fact that the 2015 budget itself was under-provided and we were midway through the fiscal year,” he said.
“All rented premises are in arrears, with a number of missions in receipt of eviction notices from landlords. Our officials are regularly summoned by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the host countries to explain issues relating to default in payment of rent and other obligations.”
Zimbabwe has 45 missions and 39 of them are headed by ambassadors, while the rest are run by consul-generals.
Hamadziripi told the committee — chaired by Zanu PF MP Kindness Paradza — that as at June 30, government owed diplomats in excess of
$11 million in salary arrears, $5 million for rent, $25 million for building maintenance and $4,3 million for the purchase of vehicles.
“The finance situation, especially at our diplomatic missions, is drastically deteriorating owing to inadequate funding,” he said.
Hamadziripi and his delegation told the committee that among the debts owed by Zimbabwe was a $2 million annual subscription to the Africa Union, which is due by January next year.
He said the country will face international humiliation if it fails to pay the money.
A director of finance in the Foreign Affairs ministry told the committee that the AU annual subscription had been increased from $480 000 to $2 million.
“We have to pay this money before we hand over the AU chairmanship to the next country. If we don’t pay these obligations, we risk losing our membership and participation. We could also lose our voting rights,” she said.
The parliamentary committee said government should find resources to ensure that the country’s image is protected.
Government last month moved the payment of salaries and allowances of diplomats from the foreign service to the Salary Services Bureau as a way of ensuring that they continue receiving their monthly dues.
Turning to the 2016 budget considerations, Hamadziripi said Treasury had indicated that they would seek to cut the budget allocation by $2 million from the 2015 operational budget of $8 million.