THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development has made a plea to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to assist Air Zimbabwe with $2,7 million needed for re-engagement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
by VENERANDA LANGA
In their 2016 National Budget analysis, chairperson of the committee Dextor Nduna (Zanu PF) said it was imperative for government to help Air Zimbabwe before the country’s airline was kicked out of IATA.
“We need to pay $2, 7 million in total before we get kicked out of this global organisation, and it is very important that we get this money cognisant of the fact that there is no (budgetary) allocation that has been given to Air Zimbabwe as we speak,” Nduna said.
“I hope I can appeal to the Minister of Finance to see to it in himself to give that allocation because it is important.”
Chinamasa said the Air Zimbabwe issue with IATA fees was of great concern.
“I take note of the concern about the $2,7 million arrears by Air Zimbabwe. This will be looked into. I also want to emphasise that Cabinet has taken a decision that it should look for a strategic partner and the Ministry of Transport is seized with that assignment to look for a strategic partner to partner Air Zimbabwe,” Chinamasa said.
The committee report also urged the Mines and Mining Development ministry to expedite clearance of companies that acquired scrap metal from the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), which could unlock $5 million to pay workers.
“This is enough money to pay wages at NRZ. We are only asking for authority to export the scrap metal that has already been paid for, but which monies cannot be unlocked because the buyers cannot export their scrap metal,” the committee’s report read.
The committee urged Chinamasa to put more pressure to ensure NRZ found a strategic partner to invest $650 million required to resuscitate the comatose rail company.
If an investor is found, the money will go towards rehabilitation of equipment, coaches, communication equipment and other rail systems.
“The Finance minister should provide a guarantee for NRZ to get offshore financing to rehabilitate its infrastructure. NRZ cannot go it alone and we cannot get funding from government because the cake is too small,” the committee said.
Other sources of funding that the committee suggested should be unlocked include NRZ mineral rights in South Africa, that were left as a legacy for Zimbabwe and Zambia.