Trea­sury sus­pends cab­i­net ve­hi­cle scheme

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lin­coln Towindo

GOV­ERN­MENT has sus­pended the pur­chase of con­di­tion of ser­vice ve­hi­cles for all min­is­ters, with the money now be­ing used to pur­chase a fleet of new am­bu­lances for pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties, Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube has said.

In the spirit of aus­ter­ity, Gov­ern­ment is ag­gres­sively cut­ting non-es­sen­tial ex­pen­di­ture and redi­rect­ing spend­ing to­wards so­cial ser­vice de­liv­ery and in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment. Fur­ther, au­thor­i­ties are strongly push­ing for procur­ing ve­hi­cles for Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from lo­cal car as­sem­blers.

Al­ready, the Pres­i­dent, his Deputies, min­is­ters and all se­nior bu­reau­crats have taken a five per­cent pay cut as part of the aus­ter­ity mea­sures. Gov­ern­ment has 21 Cab­i­net Min­is­ters, 14 Deputy Min­is­ters and nine Min­is­ters of State. Cab­i­net Min­is­ters were usu­ally given an ex­ec­u­tive car and two off-road ve­hi­cles as part of their con­di­tion of ser­vice. Deputy Min­is­ters were, how­ever, en­ti­tled to an ex­ec­u­tive car and one of­froader.

Speak­ing dur­ing a town hall meet­ing or­gan­ised by Global Shapers Com­mu­nity Harare on Fri­day, Prof Ncube said Gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous about aus­ter­ity.

“By the way, our strat­egy for show­ing how we are us­ing re­sources also shows in the way we are mak­ing sav­ings. I have said to all the min­is­ters, my col­leagues and all the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, that we shouldn’t have th­ese fancy cars.

“We have not au­tho­rised the pur­chase of a car for a min­is­ter in Zim­babwe. None! I have said to them, you know I need the money to buy am­bu­lances, I need am­bu­lances and that is what I am go­ing to buy with the sav­ings from the cars for the min­is­ters; that is what I am go­ing to do.

“So we are very se­ri­ous about this aus­ter­ity, about walk­ing the talk, about meet­ing the peo­ple of Zim­babwe half­way, about us­ing their two per­cent taxes prop­erly. The two per­cent tax is not about pay­ing to Cae­sar what be­longs to Cae­sar, it’s about us giv­ing back to the peo­ple what they con­trib­uted in the first place and cov­er­ing the ar­eas where we think we can cre­ate the right type of goods for ev­ery­one to ben­e­fit from,” he said.

A study on emer­gency and am­bu­lance ser­vice com­mis­sioned by Gov­ern­ment last year es­tab­lished that ow­ing to the short­age of am­bu­lances, nearly 30 per­cent of road traf­fic ac­ci­dent vic­tims die be­fore reach­ing a health care fa­cil­ity.

The study also es­tab­lished that tran­sit time for pa­tients in am­bu­lances ranges be­tween four to five hours, lead­ing to un­nec­es­sary loss of life.

All Gov­ern­ment am­bu­lances, the study re­vealed, lacked ba­sic equip­ment in­clud­ing oxy­gen, de­liv­ery packs for preg­nant women in tran­sit, re­sus­ci­ta­tion equip­ment, masks, in­tra­venous lines for drips, in­tra­venous stands and trol­leys.

The study rec­om­mended that all 63 dis­tricts in the coun­try’s health sys­tem should have at least two func­tional am­bu­lances and qual­i­fied per­son­nel.

Gov­ern­ment will po­ten­tially save mil­lions from cars. A 2018 Land Rover Dis­cov­ery re­tails for be­tween US$52 000 and US$68 000, while Mercedes Benz E 300 sedan costs around US$52 000. A fully equipped emer­gency am­bu­lance sells for be­tween US$200 000 and US$225 000.

Min­is­ter Ncube said Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to in­sist on pur­chase of lo­cally as­sem­bled ve­hi­cles for Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in or­der to save for­eign cur­rency.

Zanu-PF leg­is­la­tors have also turned down

Par­lia­men­tary ve­hi­cles.

Prof. Mthuli Ncube

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