DISAGREEMENTS between President Robert Mugabe’s office and the Ministry of Transport have stalled progress in the implementation of the ambitious Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Information System (Zimitis), Parliament heard yesterday.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Transport ministry secretary Machiwenyika Mapuranga told the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development that in the opinion of the Attorney-General, running contracts between government and private players should be respected.
“It is the opinion of the Attorney-General that existing contracts between government agencies and private players regarding the Zimitis project must be respected. He has advised that when they come to expire and re-negotiation, I think the ministry has very strong views on this,” Mapuranga said.
Mapuranga, who was recently reassigned to the department, said he had correspondence from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) with instructions that the current contracts between government and Univern Enterprises should not be subject to tender.
“I can assure you that I have correspondence from OPC instructing that the current agreements should not be subject to open but direct tender,” he said.
The contracts awarded in 2013 have, according to officials, resulted in increased revenues as well as reducing the incidence of corruption within the transport sector.
However, principal director in the ministry Eric Gumbi, who sounded agitated, said the department’s management was insisting on open tenders against the recommendation from Mugabe’s office.
“VID (Vehicle Inspection Department) and CVR (Central Vehicle Registry) are not yet linked. RMT (Road Motor Transport) and VID are not yet integrated or computerised while there has been progress in other departments like CVR. We certainly want to have PPP (public-private-partnership), but at the same time it is the belief of the ministry’s management that we should go to tender.
“Public procurement is recommended to be done through tendering because that is the only way we can ensure competitive prices and benefit for government. We have been discussing with the State Procurement Board for the past one and a half years over this issue. The discussions are still continuing and the ministry is seized with this,” Gumbi said.
Gumbi seemed to clash with committee chairperson Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna after the latter insisted that government moves swiftly to implement the computerisation of passenger insurance.
“We want people to benefit and we would want you to allow partial digitisation of RMT. People are dying daily and there is no compensation while insurance companies and touts are benefiting,” Nduna said demanding that the project be implemented “or next time you come here we will charge you with contempt of Parliament”.
To this, Gumbi indicated there had been an appeal by a company that had lost the tender for the computerisation of passenger and third party insurance.
“I want to bring to your attention chairperson, that if you see us delaying it is not deliberate, but because we still have to deal with these issues,” Gumbi said.
Nduna would have none of it, saying: “That information (appeal) has not been brought to our attention and we do not need any more delays. You want to reverse all the gains so far?”
Gumbi stammered through his response saying that “we are looking at an amicable solution”.