Thursday, 2 June 2016


The United Touring Company (UTC) — a business in which Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and former labour minister Nicholas Goche are shareholders — has been liquidated, dealing another body blow to efforts to indigenise the country’s economy.
A leading tour operator and travel agent during its heydays, UTC went belly-up a few months ago after failing to navigate the country’s harsh economic terrain, characterised by declining tourism and a tight liquidity crunch.

 Among the litany of problems, UTC owed its
workers nearly half a million dollars in outstanding salaries and terminal benefits. Other notable creditors include the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).

 The workers are now hoping to salvage something out of the liquidation process.
Liquidation refers to the process by which a company (or part of a company) is brought to an end, and the assets and property of the firm are redistributed among its creditors.
It is also sometimes referred to as winding-up or dissolution, although dissolution technically refers to the last stage of liquidation.

 It may either be compulsory or voluntary whereupon shareholders will file for the winding up of the business on their own having assessed that it can no longer be revived.
In the case of UTC, Cecil Madondo of Tudor House Consultants has been appointed to preside over the company’s liquidation.

Madondo is said to be in the process of reconciling claims by different creditors against the company, which used to be the torchbearer among tour operators in the country until it fell into indigenous hands.

  The collapse of UTC has re-ignited debate about the efficacy of the indigenisation policy through which government is seeking to redress past historical imbalances by thrusting the majority blacks in the mainstream economy.

 In the agriculture sector, where former white commercial farmers were chased away from their properties in 2000, vast tracks of land now lie fallow because the majority of the indigenous people, mostly ZANU-PF elite, who inherited them lack both the resources and knowledge to become productive on the farms.

 In industry and commerce, several companies acquired by indigenous people have been run down, resulting in scores of employees losing their jobs, while the taxman has also lost out in taxes.

 Among the companies run into the ground by the indigenous people are Express Motorways, Jaggars Wholesalers, Apex Corporation and Kondozi Farm etc.
UTC’s troubles started when it was acquired from its former white owners by a consortium linked to Kasukuwere in 2001.

In July 2011, UTC decided to retrench all the workers and pay them terminal benefits by October of the same year in a bid to streamline costs, especially the payroll.
This did not happen, leading to winding court battles after the workers initiated court proceedings to recover money owed to them by the company.

 In 2014, some of the company’s former workers were granted an order by the High Court to attach property to recover about US$186 000 in terminal benefits. financial gazette


Post a Comment