Felex Share Senior Reporter
The revival of national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe (Airzim), is on the cards as Government has resolved to proceed with the acquisition of four Boeing 777 aircraft from Malaysia valued at $70 million.
Yesterday, Cabinet also approved the re-bundling of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and resolved to merge all the group’s units into a single integrated company.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will be split into two entities — a commercial business entity and another responsible for the Strategic Grain Reserve function.
All these moves are in sync with the Public Enterprises Reform Framework for 2018-2020 under the auspices of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
In turn, the TSP — which is a short-term blueprint — feeds into President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy.
Briefing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also agreed that the delivery of the smaller Embraer aircraft from the United States be worked on expeditiously.
“Following a presentation by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and cognisant of the urgent imperative need to rebuild the national airline Air Zimbabwe, Cabinet resolved to proceed post-haste with the acquisition of the four Boeing 777 aircraft from Malaysia and to work on the expeditious delivery of the Embraer aircraft purchased in the United States of America,” she said.
The new planes are expected to add impetus to efforts to open Zimbabwe to investment and boost local tourism and trade.
The four Boeing 777 planes are expected to service regional and international routes, while the Embraer aircraft will be for domestic routes.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said Government was regularising and completing the $70 million deal.
“Zim Airways had acquired four planes and those are the ones Cabinet has approved for us to finalise their leaving Malaysia and being part and parcel of Air Zimbabwe. In the United States we have an Embraer which is coming and Cabinet has approved that it should be brought to Zimbabwe. Relevant payments should be done and we hope that it will be here in the 25 days or so. It should come to be part and parcel of the local fleet. It’s not a new acquisition but regularisation of what has been always there in Air Zimbabwe and Zim Airways.”
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube weighed in: “We want to strengthen domestic capacity hence the completion of the transaction regarding Embraer which is a domestic oriented aircraft because of its size and capacity. Dealing on the external front, with the long haul aspect of the airline that’s where we need these bigger air craft and that transaction as well is being competed.”
On Zesa re-bundling, Minister Mutsvangwa said all Zesa companies will be amalgamated into a “single vertically integrated company.”
“Cabinet resolved to amend the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) in order to cater for the proposed changes in the structure of ZESA,” she said.
“It also resolved to engage a reputable human resources consultant to advise Government on the best structure for the re-bundled Zesa and as a consequence of this reform, that Powertel be hived-off from ZESA and be merged with Zarnet and Africom.”
Zesa has five companies namely Powertel Communications, Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zesa Enterprises (Zent) and Zesa Holdings.
Government further set up the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (Zera).
The unbundling of the power utility is now blamed for exerting more costs on the company and the tariff, as all executives get huge salaries and perks such as top-of-the-range vehicles.
Apart from several chief executives, all of the companies under Zesa Holdings have separate departments such as marketing, human resources, accounts and public relations.
Minister Mutsvangwa said of GMB: “Cabinet resolved that the GMB be split into two entities, that is, the arm responsible for the strategic Grain Reserve function and the creation of Silo Food Industries as a commercial business entity.”
Prof Ncube said Government was on track with its economic reform agenda.
“We are implementing a State enterprise reform agenda which will see a better private sector-led economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had approved the Zimbabwe National Labour Migration Policy presented by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza.
The key features of the policy include promotion of the ratification and domestication of key regional and international instruments on labour migration.
It is also expected to protect and empower migrant workers against abusive recruitment practices and to facilitate establishment of bilateral labour agreements with receiving countries.
“Over and above the foregoing, Cabinet noted that the labour migration policy will strengthen the rights of labour migrants and their families, and accordingly approved the Zimbabwe National Labour Migrant Policy,” she said.