via ‘We’ve not defaulted on DBSA loans’ – DailyNews Live 29 January 2015
HARARE – The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) says it has not failed to pay its $9 million-plus Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) quarterly installments, according to board chairman Albert Mugabe.
This comes amid swirling rumours that the highways agency was struggling to service its debts with the regional lender and NMB Bank Limited (NMB) due to management ineptitude, and misplaced priorities.
“Zinara has to play a very delicate balancing act between meeting… its obligations to DBSA, while simultaneously trying to contain further degradation of our national network through its maintenance programmes,” Mugabe told the Daily News, adding they “are currently up to date with our payments for that loan”.
Amid suggestions that his organisation had also defaulted on its NMB loans – held under Infralink – the youthful architect said the Harare-based institution was “an active road fund”, which took up facilities “to attend to situations in executing its road maintenance mandate, but within the agreed parameters with lending institutions”.
“With regards delays in payment, it’s usually due to the need to balance our demanding obligations as l have alluded…,” Mugabe said.
While there have been howls of discontent about Zinara’s contract with Southern Region Trading Company (SRTC), especially claims that the latter was racking in about a fifth of gross toll gate revenue, the President Robert Mugabe nephew said the “figures were not only incorrect, but they had a malleable relationship” with the local contractor.
“…the board has created a board committee that looks at policy issues with SRTC and an executive committee that implements on the ground,” Mugabe added.
On the $2 million locked in benighted Allied Bank, the Zinara boss said they were “pursuing the few options available” to recover the monies in Transport minister Obert Mpofu’s institution as well as millions more in Metbank Limited.
“…we are in consultations with Metbank on settlement options too,” Mugabe said.
While the roads administrator has taken some flak over corporate governance concerns, the young businessman said his board was “pre-occupied with studying executives’ proposal for a comprehensive solution to road maintenance” and, therefore, “this required constant monitoring as some issues bordered on policy matters”.
On the other hand, Zinara was working flat out to clear its creditors’ list, including those who had been hired in Victoria Falls to do some work ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation meeting in the resort town.
“Zinara is working tirelessly to clear all outstanding amounts due to contracts from various road authorities. (And)…if work is done… then surely it’s proper for Zinara to make payments,” he said, before dismissing the notion that the organisation also owed – and favoured – some charity organisations like Mushamukadzi.
“Social investments are done on a case by case basis and considerations vary from year to year. It’s the first time that l have heard of debt arising from donations and grants,” Mugabe said.
“This… has surely clarified that the imagined infractions are merely misconceptions and in some cases misinformation. However, Zinara is continually striving to be the best that it can be. As such, interventions are constantly being implemented where we identify areas of weakness,” he said.