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Govt props up AirZim

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TREASURY injected close to $1,8 million into the embattled national carrier Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) between July and August as it struggles to stay afloat, official figures have shown.

Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa

The Accountant General’s Department consolidated statement of financial performance for the two months showed that $1,5 million was injected into the airline in July.

The amount was double the budgeted $650 000, according to statistics.
In August, $260 000 was extended to AirZim in the form of a loan against a Budget of $1,4 million.

Despite the injection and unbundling of the entity into Air Zimbabwe and National Handling Services, the airline remains largely inactive to a limited extent, servicing domestic routes.

The airline has been operating on a deficit since 1994, but the inception of the multi-currency system worsened the situation.
AirZim with an estimated debt of over $100 million, was early this year forced to terminate international and regional flights to avoid its planes being impounded by creditors.

The statement of accounts showed that the government advanced $1 million in the form of a loan to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ).

CAAZ chief executive officer David Chawota last week said the authority was in the process of upgrading Harare International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Airport in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls Airport.

Harare International Airport, with a capacity of handling 2,5 million visitors annually, was currently operating at 20%.
Power utility Zesa was advanced $4 million against a budgeted $3 million.

The total expenditure by Treasury in July at $287,4 million was higher than the budgeted $271,1 million.

The government advanced $6,4 million to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in August.

It is understood that funds advanced to GMB could have been meant for the preparation of the new cropping season.

AirZim and GMB were among 10 State-owned enterprises that had been earmarked for the first phase of privatisation and commercialisation as the government moved to wean off its heavily-indebted entities.

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