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Murerwa ‘not concerned’ by mounting losses

Shakeman Mugari

Minister of Finance and Economic Development Herbert Murerwa has admitted that government does not have the capacity to properly manage the domestic and foreign debt that is threatening to bu

ry national income.

And he says he is not concerned about parastatal losses.

Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Murerwa admitted to members that the increasing debt should be blamed

on government’s inability to monitor the soaring numbers.

“One of the major causes of debt is the lack of capacity in the form of trained personnel and lack of computerisation,” Murerwa said.

He said Zimbabwe lacked a proper and up-to-date register of loans that had been guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

These views were expressed after a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that Zimbabwe’s debt controlling mechanism was in a shambles, a scenario which the committee said would further worsen the debt crisis.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, had raised concerns that government was not doing enough to abate both domestic and foreign debts currently running into billions.

The minister said government would continue to guarantee loans for loss-making parastatals despite their increased contribution to the debt.

Murerwa said: “We are not concerned about the losses parastatals are making. At the crux of the matter is government’s concern about national interests.” Government has continued to guarantee loans given to parastatals despite their failure to turnaround their fortunes.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga queried why government continued to guarantee parastatals that were capable of making profits.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) have over the years received state guaranteed loans but have gone on to incur major losses.

The committee recommended that the minister should not have rescue packages for companies such as the ZBC, which was capable of generating its own revenue if prudently managed.

Murerwa said most companies were in dire straits due to the under pricing of services and products, which he said was for the good of the nation.

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