ECONOMIST Godfrey Kanyenze on Tuesday told MPs that weak collection mechanisms by service providers for electricity and water had resulted in institutions like Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) depending on government financial bailouts.
by VENERANDA LANGA
He told legislators at a discussion of the 2016 National Budget that there was no culture of collections in Zimbabwe. Kanyenze said if ZETDC was efficient in collecting debts, they would be able to meet their infrastructure financial needs without government assistance.
“We have weak institutions where resources are being lost. For example, ZETDC was allocated $482 million for generation of electricity, yet if they collected the $1 billion they are owed by people, they would be able to do their own thing without depending on the fiscus,” Kanyenze said.
“ZETDC alone can provide half of the amount needed for infrastructure this year — there is money, but there is no culture of paying and collecting, and we need to do something about it.”
Contributing on the same issue, MDC-T chief whip and Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese said politicians and other big fish were responsible for huge debts at ZETDC and local authorities.
“What is lacking is the political will. The Zesa debt of $1 billion was not caused by the common person in Mufakose.
”It is the fat cats and other big people who have not been paying up. I want to encourage every minister and MP that we must own up to our responsibilities and pay those debts. If there is anyone here in this gathering who owes Zesa or city council, they must pay up,” Gonese said.
He also said government must honour its constitutional obligations in relation to that 5% of the National Budget should go to local authorities.
“They are allocated on paper, but are never given that money. Parliament must make it clear that out of this $4 billion budget, $200 million, which is 5% of the budget, must go to local authorities in terms of chapter 17 of the Constitution,” Gonese said.