The Government will not allocate foreign currency to senior Government officials who will benefit from the vehicle loan scheme, but will provide the money through Real Time Gross Settlement in order to save scarce foreign currency, a senior Government official has said.
In the past the Government bought senior Government officials condition of service vehicles, but it recently scrapped the facility as part of broader austerity measures.
Finance and Economic Development permanent secretary ,Mr George Guvamatanga, said recently the affected officials would, however, be allowed to import their vehicles duty free.
“This is a very specific and targeted allowance to specific senior officials who previously were allocated condition of service vehicles by Government which, as part of the austerity measures, we have since terminated.
“So those officials will no longer have vehicles purchased for them by Government, so in turn we have replaced this with a car loan scheme,” he said.
“And the car loan scheme is a loan which is denominated in the RTGS currency. It is not foreign currency.”
Mr Guvamatanga added; “We are simply moving from buying and allocating a vehicle to a selected number of very senior Government officials to then say we will give you a loan, and you service your own vehicle but at least to make it better for you we will give you duty free.”
He said those who would access condition of service vehicles were excluded from the duty free scheme.
“So it is very limited numbers that is what I think I need to emphasise,” he said.
Weighing in on the issue, Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government was keen on leading from the front in the austerity programme.
“We have not bought any minister vehicles so far. We have said this is an issue which should be held in abeyance until such time we feel that we, on the Government side, have done enough to show that we are meeting the citizens of Zimbabwe half way in carrying this austerity programme together,” he said.