HARARE - Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, has called for a commission of inquiry to look into parastatal executives’ obscene salaries.
“We have seen explicit corruption whereby people inflated their salaries in public institutions such as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) and Air Zimbabwe,” Biti told journalists yesterday at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
“We believe this is the tip of the iceberg. The whole system is rotten to the core.
“As the MDC, we are calling for the establishment of a commission of inquiry led by a retired judge.
“The commission will allow the public, service deliverers and clients to give evidence. This will
expose all the rot in the system.
“On top of the judicial inquiry, we demand a forensic audit by professional auditors on all parastatals.”
The media in recent weeks revealed that former Psmas chief executive Cuthbert Dube pocketed a whopping salary of close to half a million.
Suspended ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere’s $40 000 monthly salary at a time workers had gone for months without pay has also been exposed by the media.
Biti said the Public Finance Management Act needs to be amended so that it also monitors ministries’ recurrent budget and capital budgets.
Currently, the Act only supervises ministries, capital budgets and Biti believes the rot is in recurrent expenditure.
The former Finance minister said Zimbabwe urgently needs a $4 billion stimulus package to get the economy ticking.
“That stimulus package will attend to the issues of infrastructure requirements that are bedevilling this country”, he said.
“A billion dollars has to be put towards energy and some amount has to be put towards the productive sector in particular the industry sector and most importantly, as part of that stimulus package there has to be amounts of meaningful money that have to be pulled towards the lender of last
resort at the central bank.
“The economy is facing a liquidity crisis, there is simply no money.”
He said broad money supply had contracted in the economy, so to induce the economy to move out of the slump, there has to be restoration of the lender of the last resort facility at the central bank.
“We do not believe that the solutions offered in the 2014 national budget will succeed,” he said.
The MDC secretary-general said $75 million of the $100 million set aside for small and medium enterprises in the 2014 budget should be channelled to the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) and Zimbabwe Economic Trade Revival Facility (Zetref).
Dimaf is a facility created to help struggling firms retool and purchase raw materials to boost production as well as provide working capital to cover operating costs.
The country needs to engage with the international community so as to unlock foreign direct investment, Biti said.
He further alleged that the Zanu PF government was clueless and should throw in the towel.
“We have a government but we don’t have a government,” Biti said.
“Zanu PF is clueless, idea-free. Government buildings are idea-free. The government is paralysed and indifferent. The clueless government has abandoned its constitutional mandate and it has to throw in the towel.”