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Government rejects MPs, chiefs’ vehicle requests

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presents the country's 2014 National Budget to Parliament in Harare, December 19, 2013. Zimbabwe's economy should grow 6.4 percent in 2014, a big jump from the 3.4 percent projected for this year, backed by a recovering agriculture sector and better mining performance, Chinamasa said on Thursday. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
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GOVERNMENT has turned down requests to buy vehicles for ministers, MPs, chiefs and other top officials that would have cost the country over $300 million.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said this yesterday while presenting the 2018 national budget in Parliament.

He said a number of measures outlined in the budget mark a paradigm shift that represents movement towards a New Economic Order as first enunciated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he assumed office last month.

“As the country strives to mobilise funding for critical projects and programmes, it is imperative that we deploy the resources to priority areas that address the needs of the country in a cost effective manner. Treasury is in receipt of requests for procurement of utility and conditions of service vehicles amounting to $169 million broken down as follows: Parliamentary vehicles, $21 million; chiefs’ vehicles, $14 million, Independent Commissions, $9 million; Civil service members, including Ministers, $93 million; and utility vehicles, $32 million,” said Cde Chinamasa.

“Furthermore, requests for procurement of furniture for Government Ministries and Departments amount to over $50 million. Clearly, the fiscus cannot sustain the above demands, if we are to achieve the objectives towards a ‘New Economic Order’. Hence, the 2018 Budget took account of value for money and affordability as guiding principles in the allocation of resources, and is unable to provide for the above vehicle requests.”

The Minister said there are outstanding requests for condition of service vehicles in the public service amounting close to $140 million, which the economy in its state cannot afford.

“Currently, too many grades in the public service are provided with vehicles as a condition of service every five years, with the vehicles being licensed, insured, serviced and repaired at Government expense. The total outstanding request for condition of service vehicles is now close to $140 million, which the economy in its state cannot afford,” he said.

“Government, therefore, has reviewed the vehicle scheme as follows: permanent secretaries and equivalent grades, one personal issue vehicle; commissioners and equivalent grades, one vehicle; and principal directors, directors and deputy directors and their equivalents, vehicle loan scheme.”

Chinamasa also said some ministries and Government departments are circumventing Treasury Order to suspend the purchase of vehicles by hiring from both the private sector and CMED.

The Minister said it is important to note that the cost of hiring one vehicle per month goes up to $8 000, translating to an annual charge of $96 000, which is adequate to buy a car.

“Treasury, will therefore, in the 2018 Budget institute commitment control measures that put a stop to this practice,” he added. —