THE government has failed to pay for 50 luxury buses acquired by Zimbabwe United Passenger Company Omnibus (Zupco) from Pioneer Motor Corporation (PMC), dashing hopes of a further supply of new
coaches, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Last year the government announced plans to acquire 250 “Marcopolo” buses from South Africa through PMC. It said Zupco had secured funding through Metropolitan Bank to pay for the busses.
PMC this week confirmed that Zupco had not paid for the 50 buses supplied so far. “Payment is yet to be effected by Zupco for the 50 vehicles delivered,” said Shaun Lightfoot of PMC.
“PMC and Zupco are working together to find a solution to enable the continued procurement of Scania buses for the Zupco fleet,” he said.
Zupco has to pay PMC more than US$5 million for the 50 buses that have been delivered.
When the deal was negotiated last year, Zupco hoped to procure 250 buses at a cost of US$25 million through PMC. The move was envisaged to help in the turn around programme for Zupco.
Richard Mlambo of the Zupco public relations department refused to comment on the collapse of the deal with PMC but confirmed that 50 buses had been supplied so far.
“What deal are you talking about? Well, I will not comment on that. Why don’t you speak to Pioneer?” retorted Mlambo.
“Procurement of buses remains a priority. It is an ongoing exercise. So far we have procured 50 buses.”
Government has a 51% shareholding in Zupco, with the other 49% in the hands of insurance company, Zimre.
Indigenous businessman and owner of Metropolitan bank Enock Kamushinda, who promised at the start of the deal to assist Zupco with funds, is said to have since chickened out. Efforts to obtain comment from Kamushinda were in vain yesterday.