Tuesday, 5 February 2019

BIG CHANGES AT AIRZIM, GMB AND ZESA

The revival of national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, is on the cards as Government has resolved to proceed with the acquisition of the four Boeing 777 aircraft from Malaysia valued at $70 million.

Yesterday, Cabinet also approved the re-bundling of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and resolved to merge all the group’s companies into a single integrated company while the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will be split into two entities, a move that will see the creation of a commercial business entity and another arm responsible for the strategic grain reserve function.

All these strategic moves are in sync with the public enterprise reform framework for 2018-2020 under the auspices of the Transitional Stabilisation Plan (TSP).

In turn, the TSP, which is a short-term blueprint feeds into President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 to transform Zimbabwe into an Upper Middle Income economy.


Briefing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also agreed that the delivery of the smaller Embraer aircraft from the United States be worked on expeditiously.


“Following a presentation by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and cognisant of the urgent imperative need to rebuild the national airline Air Zimbabwe Cabinet resolved to proceed post-haste with the acquisition of the four Boeing 777 aircraft from Malaysia and to work on the expeditious delivery of the Embraer aircraft purchased in the United States of America,” she said.

The new planes are expected to add impetus to efforts to open Zimbabwe to investment and boost local tourism and trade.

The four Boeing 777 planes are expected to service regional and international routes while the Embraer aircraft will be for domestic routes.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said Government was regularising and completing the $70 million deal.

“Zim Airways had acquired four planes and those are the ones Cabinet has approved for us to finalise their leaving Malaysia and being part and parcel of Air Zimbabwe. In the United States we have an Embraer which is coming and Cabinet has approved that it should be brought to Zimbabwe. Relevant payments should be done and we hope that it will be here in the 25 days or so. It should come to be part and parcel of the local fleet. It’s not a new acquisition but regularisation of what has been always there in Air Zimbabwe and Zim Airways.”

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube weighed in: “We want to strengthen domestic capacity hence the completion of the transaction regarding Embraer which is a domestic oriented aircraft because of its size and capacity. Dealing on the external front, with the long haul aspect of the airline that’s where we need these bigger air craft and that transaction as well is being competed.”

On Zesa re-bundling, Minister Mutsvangwa said all Zesa companies will be amalgamated into a “single vertically integrated company.”
“Cabinet resolved to amend the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) in order to cater for the proposed changes in the structure of ZESA,” she said.

“It also resolved to engage a reputable human resources consultant to advise Government on the best structure for the re-bundled Zesa and as a consequence of this reform, that Powertel be hived-off from ZESA and be merged with Zarnet and Africom.”

Zesa has five companies namely Powertel Communications, Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zesa Enterprises (Zent) and Zesa Holdings.

Government further set up the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (Zera).

The unbundling of the power utility is now blamed for exerting more costs on the company and the tariff, as all executives get huge salaries and perks such as top-of-the-range vehicles.
Apart from several chief executives, all of the companies under Zesa Holdings have separate departments such as marketing, human resources, accounts and public relations.
Minister Mutsvangwa said of GMB: “Cabinet resolved that the GMB be split into two entities, that is, the arm responsible for the strategic Grain Reserve function and the creation of Silo Food Industries as a commercial business entity.”

Prof Ncube said Government was on track with its economic reform agenda.
“We are implementing a State enterprise reform agenda which will see a better private sector-led economy,” he said.

Cabinet also approved principles for the amendment of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), a development that underscores Government’s commitment to the reform agenda in the Second Republic.

Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “Following a presentation by the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage of the principles for the amendment of the Public Order and Security Act and the Immigration Act in order to align them with the Zimbabwean Constitution, Cabinet approved the principles, thus paving way for the drafting of the actual Bills,” she said.

The amendments will also be in line with the reforms being taken under the Second Republic.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the ad-hoc committee set up to assess the level of damage to infrastructure and the quantum of losses incurred by businesspeople during the recent violent demonstrations had presented its interim report.

The committee, comprising eight ministries, was tasked to immediately come up with measures to bring relief to affected communities and help businesses to recover.

Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “Cabinet noted the need to bring urgent relief to the communities and business affected by the recent violent demonstrations and approved that a special Fund be set up for that purpose. The ad-hoc Committee was tasked to expeditiously work out the finer details and modalities of the fund and to report back at the next meeting.”

She said Cabinet had approved the urgent disbursement of US$2 million towards the repair of the damaged infrastructure at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. The repairs will be done on the theatre storerooms damaged by fire at the Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Wing. Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring.

“I can confirm that there was a fire which started in a storeroom which is adjacent to one of our theatres,” he said.

“Naturally the theatre was equally affected and it will be not used until the repairs have been done. This (the fire) is due to electrical wiring as the building is from the 1950s. We hope that it will not take long. We have teams assessing and making sure they get working and the theatres start working again. Generally Mbuya Nehanda wants a total overhaul and we will start with the $2 million. Cabinet was very rapid in ensuring the health of people especially maternity cases are well looked after.”

President Mnangagwa last Friday said the Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Ward needed refurbishment. Herald

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