GMB in $17m  salary arrears

The-Grain-Marketing-BoardElita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
The Grain Marketing Board owes its employees $17 million in unpaid salaries as the parastatal is struggling to operate due to delays in the release of funds by Government, Parliament heard yesterday.

Speaking before the Public Accounts committee, GMB deputy general manager, Mr Joe Muzurura said the parastatal was also receiving between 15 and 20 summons from creditors each day.

He said employees last received their full salaries nine months ago and the parastatal had resorted to paying its 1 984 workers a flat salary of $300 from top to bottom.

“Government owes GMB $26 million for the grain delivered to the parastatal depots of which $9 million is for the grain received this season. GMB last received support from Government five months ago.

“We have failed to pay our employees their salaries as we do not have money,” he said.

Mr Muzurura said between 2009 and 2014, Government owed GMB $44 million but Treasury paid $39 million in offsets.

“Treasury would settle our bills such as water, electricity and settle our debts instead of giving us cash. This is good but we do not purchase other resources using offsets,” he said.

“It would make sense if GMB gets its cash and support its activities,” he said.

Besides maintaining the strategic grain reserve, GMB is involved in milling, packaging of rice, sugar beans and salt.

The parastatal has also started producing stockfeeds at the Norton plant but these have not been viable.

GMB acting general manager, Mr Lawarence Jasi, said the company had also gone into a partnership with a Chinese company to manufacture propylene bags.

“We would want to generate about $4,5 million a month but now we are getting $1,5 million.

GMB has been facing financial challenges with some experts encouraging Government to find strategic partners to assist with the resuscitation of the institution.

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