|Who is accountable|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:00|
A DAY does not pass without glaring headlines in the Press of major miscalculations of the activities of the Government. Should we blame this on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) or on lack of ability by officials to advise Government?
For crying out loud, how can the country have miscalculated the value of its resources before entering into an agreement with an investor, such as the deal to revive Ziscosteel?
We are now reading that the minister responsible for minerals was never involved.
We are also at sixes and sevens with regard to the under-capitalised national budget which we were told was going to provide at least US$4 billion in expenditure. We are now being told that that figure is unachievable because the money from diamonds sales is not forthcoming. The latest revelation is on fuel procurement which has rendered the fuel pipeline from Beira redundant to the detriment of the country’s roads which are being degraded by tankers criss-crossing day and night en route to countries in the region.
But those charged with ensuring the smooth running of Government administration, the civil servants, are not taking responsibility for the mishaps we are reading daily. A country can only function efficiently if its civil servants take their responsibilities seriously to advise ministers before any policy formulation is taken to Parliament or any agreements are entered into and signed.
The problem has been that senior civil servants have themselves become politicians without having been elected into office by the people. Once they take political roles, the smooth administration of the state suffers. Ministers are never advised properly. Their subordinates also start playing politics while the system of government is subverted.
One cannot understand why simple procedures of coming up with a realistic budget cannot be followed. Take, for instance, the proliferation of supermarkets selling imported products under a franchise agreement, especially from South Africa. All over Harare, these supermarkets are closing down with loss of hundreds of jobs.
Instead of reviving our manufacturing industry, we opted for foreign products. We under-funded our agriculture and opted for an easy way out of relying on imports with disastrous consequences.
All this could have been avoided if Government ministers were properly advised by senior civil servants. Another bone of contention is the purchase of imported luxury cars while the local car assembly plants are struggling to sell new cars. If the Government shuns locally assembled cars, who in his right mind is also going to support the local industries?
Surely, the people of Zimbabwe would be happy to see their hard-earned taxes paid to the exchequer being used to prop up local assembly plants. It was also reported that Members of Parliament preferred imported cars to those locally assembled to use to visit their rural constituencies.
The ordinary people resign themselves to buying second-hand cars from South Africa and Japan because they cannot afford the locally assembled cars. Who can blame them if Government is spending tax money on imported vehicles?
The ordinary worker and civil servant, for that matter, want just a fair wage to make ends meet. The factories are closed or under-performing due to imports, the civil servants are being told that there shall be no salary increase due to lack of revenue inflows. What then should be the answer to all these problems?
The little money that is paid through the banks is inaccessible because of liquidity problems where the money borrowed is not being paid back. Many are asking whether the authorities, meaning senior civil servants, are vested with knowledge of running a modern state.
Politicians have shouldered a lot of blame but many now believe that a state administration is run by civil servants. Unless the civil servants are knowledgeable about how a modern state should operate, then our problems will go unresolved.
Parliament can make laws but those laws must be implemented by civil servants. Advice on economic matters must come from civil servants. Loopholes in revenue collection can be closed if civil servants applied the law diligently.
It has been reported in the Press that Government is losing a lot of revenue from illegal importation of fuel. Who is facilitating the importation of this fuel? Who is accountable for what is going on? Are there any think tanks in Government circles? Surely, there should be those employees who are paid just to think and come up with answers rather than being told what to do all the time. With the proliferation of computers, some call it e-government performance, it must be more reliable to communicate ideas and see to the implementation of Government programmes efficiently and quickly.
We cannot isolate the poor performance of our sporting teams from what is generally happening in the country. Some are asking whether we are just incapable as individuals to focus on what can make this country great in every way possible. One visiting professor of medicine could not understand why, with the latest new cars on our roads, the economy is not performing. Wherever he went, Zimbabweans were very articulate and clever unlike what he saw in other African countries.
This is not an isolated incident but one of many observations from visitors to this country. We blame others for our lack of foresight and in coming up with solutions to our predicament.