The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) owes its employees over $1,7 million in salary arrears and has no financial capacity to pay up, Parliament heard yesterday.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo disclosed this yesterday to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Urban Development chaired by Chimanimani West MP Lynette Karenyi where he spoke about Zupco operations and local authorities governance in the country.
Although MPs in the committee alleged Zupco was being run down by its board some of members of whom had overstayed, Chombo denied the allegations. He said the board was professional and that the transport utility was performing well.
But when the board appeared before the same committee last year, MPs were told workers were only given payslips recording amounts they were to earn, but were never paid anything, while pensioners and retrenchees were also not paid. Zupco has no capacity to immediately pay the arrears of
$1, 7 million.
The board of trustees is working hard to ensure payment of the outstanding amounts is made in batches, he said.
The Zupco board chaired by Chipo Dyanda last year told MPs the bus company was saddled with a $6,4 million debt owed to NSSA, Zimra and local authorities among others.
Yesterday, MPs alleged Dyanda and other board members had overstayed on the Zupco board and that workers felt she was the stumbling block in the resuscitation of the struggling utility.
In 2009, Zupco had 400 buses and collected revenue of $1,4 million, yet now its fortunes have waned to only 50 buses, according to evidence provided by the board to the parliamentary committee.
But Chombo yesterday said: They acquired 104 buses in 2011 and 100 buses will be procured in 2012 using internally-generated resources.