THE country could be losing millions of dollars through misuse of retained funds by various Government departments such as the police and the Registrar General’s Office, Parliament’s Budget office has said.
The office has recommended that the Government should revert to the old system where all revenue is deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The Budget office said Government could have realised up to $1 billion in fines and user charges last year alone but these did not reach the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Zimbabwe could be losing millions of dollars through misuse of retained funds by various Government departments who are retaining 100 percent of the funds they are collecting.
The Auditor General has raised a red flag over lack of transparency and accountability with regards to most of these statutory and retention funds,” said the office in its June analysis of the Retention Fund.
GOVERNMENT has availed $2,5 million for the purchase of 100 000 set top boxes as the country gears up for the digitilisation exercise, a senior government official has said.
Set top boxes will enable television sets to receive digital signals when the country migrates from the current analogue to digital transmission.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr George Charamba said once the set top boxes have been distributed to the public some areas which are digital compliant will start to receive transmission.
“Government has set aside $2,5 million to bring in set top boxes and the first batch of set top boxes will be about 100 000 units. Once we have those in the country and distributed to the viewers then it means we should be able to roll out our digitilisation programme,” he said in an interview in Gweru last week.
TREASURY disbursed $142 million towards capital and other development projects in the first three months of 2017 as Government continues to buttress economic goals under Zim-Asset.
According to the latest Treasury bulletin, the positive developments in agriculture and mining are extending stimulus to the rest of other sectors of the economy, providing overall positive growth prospects for 2017.
The breakdown includes among others: $15 million for projects in the transport sector, $16.9 million for water and sanitation projects, $2.3 million for e-governance flagship projects and national data centre equipment installation, $2.3 million institutional housing projects, health and education projects as well as agriculture, Government vehicles, strategic grain reserves, shareholding in international organisations, to mention a few, which chewed more than $100 million.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has proposed the setting up of a fund to assist road accident victims and their families, as it emerged that an accident occurs every 15 minutes and five people are killed daily on the country’s roads. The proposal has already been submitted to Cabinet for consideration.
The initiative, to be known as the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, comes at a time when at least 1 700 people die in road traffic accidents in Zimbabwe annually, while 30 000 are injured.
The establishment of the fund is in line with the United Nations Decade of Road Safety action plan.
Speaking at a consultative meeting in Harare recently, Transport and Infrastructural Development deputy minister Engineer Michel Madanha said Zimbabwe was one the few Sadc countries yet to establish such a fund.
COMPANIES and individuals are losing millions of dollars due to fraud involving fake identification documents, the Registrar General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede has said.
Addressing officials from Government departments, insurers and lawyers at a death registration workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, Mr Mudede said authorities should check the authenticity of registration documents before processing benefits for members of the public to avoid fraudulent cases that are on the increase.
He said there was an increase in people who present fake identification documents to claim from deceased estates, process international visas, claim compensation from insurance companies, get employment or defraud companies and individuals.
He said it was important for authorities to check with his office before processing anything as some people were producing counterfeit documents.
Government will release Treasury Bills (TBs) worth about $600 million to clear debts owed to Zesa Holdings by local authorities and State enterprises . Zesa Holdings through its subsidiary, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has been battling to recover over $1 billion in unpaid power bills.
The release of more TBs comes amid concern that Government continues to add to its stock of debt which could have far-reaching implications to the economy. To date, over $4 billion TBs have been issued for various reasons.
Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary Partson Mbiriri told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy yesterday that an agreement had been reached with Treasury which will see it settling debts owed to the state power utility.
Government has banned all local authorities, with immediate effect, from paying gratuities and golden handshakes to executives and senior employees following outrageous demands in exit packages and reports of rampant abuse of funds in most councils.
Prime land was being parcelled out for a song to council officials as gratuities over and above the mega perks they received.
However, the new directive sets Government and the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) on a collision course as the latter vowed to defy the directive.
In a circular addressed to all town clerks and secretaries titled “Local Authorities Circular Minute 1 of 2017 Payment of Gratuities on Termination”, Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo said the ministry had gazetted conditions for all local authorities.
Recently, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, blocked the payment of a $300 000 golden handshake to outgoing Victoria Falls treasurer, Thembinkosi Khumalo, saying Government would not allow a situation where council employees were becoming richer than the local authorities themselves.
THE Government is setting up a fund to assist road accident victims after it emerged an accident occurs every 15 minutes and about five people are killed every day on the country’s roads.
A levy on fuel or motorists has been considered among possible ways to raise money for the fund.
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Michael Madanha, yesterday told Bulawayo residents at a Road Accident Fund Consultation meeting that accident statistics had forced his ministry to act.
“These statistics though frightening must always be remembered so that we come up with a viable and sustainable Fund which takes into consideration our country’s economic realities,” said Eng Madanha.
“The dilemma service providers face becomes one of deciding between response to save lives with the possibility that the majority of the injured may not be able to pay for the services versus long term viability.”
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has ordered local authorities to expedite the issuing of title deeds to residents and give special consideration to home owners who have been occupying houses for more than 25 years.
He said it was unfair for local authorities to delay issuing title deeds to their residents so that they could continue receiving rentals.
“The Government has written to most of the local authorities, imploring them that where it is possible, those who have occupied homes for more than 25 years, we believe by then they would have paid sufficiently for them to own those properties.
“It appears councils are taking their time because they are surviving out of the rentals that come to them from these residents. They must actually be more proactive and go into further development of new homes across their areas so that they do not survive on rentals alone,” said Minister Kasukuwere while responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Government has written to the police giving the force the green light to use spikes and guns to stop vehicles only in extreme cases of criminality, but ordered the implementation of an earlier instruction to reduce the number of roadblocks.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said yesterday that he wrote to Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri with the instructions following complaints received by his ministry from the public.
“The ministry received several reports concerning roadblocks which are said to be very close to each other,” he said. Dr Chombo said he told Dr Chihuri and his team to rationalise the roadblocks. “For example, in Epworth as a district, there should be at least two roadblocks that are at distances that are reasonable,”he said.
Dr Chombo said the use of spikes came into effect after several police officers were being ran over by kombi drivers trying to evade roadblocks. “However, what we are saying now is that these roadblocks (rationalised ones) should have spikes,” he said. “Both guns and spikes should only be used in extreme cases at these roadblocks and that is the advice given to the police by the Government.
Dr Chombo said they had noted that there were some places, especially in rural areas, where spikes were unnecessary.
Government has started recruiting 2 300 teachers ahead of schools opening for second term next week, to enable full implementation of the new curriculum introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the Public Service Commission (PSC) had started the process of recruiting the teachers and was working on modalities and administrative issues.
Minister Mupfumira said they were looking forward to completing the recruitment process before schools opened, as Government moved to address the shortage of teachers.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said a number of agencies are collecting revenue, but not remitting it to Treasury, a development that has left the financially-troubled government hamstrung.
Speaking at a business forum organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in collaboration with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo recently, RBZ deputy governor, Kupukile Mlambo said the apex bank was fretting over a lot of agencies which are collecting revenue, but keeping it for their own use, instead of forwarding it to Treasury.
“We have lot of agencies that collect money in this country. The police, the parks and so forth, but a lot of these agencies don’t remit those monies to Treasury. We need to deal with those kinds of issues. But at the same time they need an allocation from the Treasury,” Mlambo said.
“I know that the minister has announced many times in the National Budget that, especially, the police and the parks should remit everything [they have collected]. I am yet to see their accounts. So that’s the challenge.”
In 2014, suspended Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Gershem Pasi told Parliament that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) were not remitting all the money they collect to Treasury.
He said the police, for instance, were collecting between $3 million and $7 million at roadblocks monthly, money which never finds its way to Treasury at a time the government is financially hamstrung.
His statement, however, unsettled the police with spokesperson, senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba angrily saying the claim “is a big falsehood, which is intended to whip public emotions against the police in pursuance of an obvious agenda”.
She claimed the police only retained $1 million each month.