Ports Authority, a waste of scarce resources

HARARE - Zimbabwe's decision to establish a National Ports Authority at a time when government is struggling to meet its day-to-day activities due to depleting coffers smacks of hypocrisy.

A National Ports Authority is a quasi-government public authority formed by a legislative body to administer ports and other transportation infrastructure.

Although most port authorities across the world are financially self-sustaining, the one to be established by government — through the National Border Ports Authority Bill is set to be tabled in Parliament — will be directly taking funds from Treasury for its operations.

As it stands, the creation of a Ports Authority will require the establishment of a board, administration staff to maintain the ports and more money to make them functional. In developed countries, the Ports Authority also deals with operations, administration, security, health, among other issues.

So, while the State argues that the Ports Authority will help improve the state of infrastructure and clear bottlenecks at the country’s various ports of entry, the truth of the matter is that this creation will duplicate duties with Zimra.

Already, the national tax collector, which runs Zimbabwe’s 15 ports of entry, is failing to deliver on its duties effectively due to lack of human resources resulting in reports of rampant smuggling of goods.

It is our strong contention that it makes economic sense to capacitate Zimra so that it can deliver sound infrastructure at the borders instead of creating another commission that will gobble up taxpayers’ money.

The latest development comes after President Robert Mugabe recently announced new additions to his already bloated Cabinet and shows that politicians only care about themselves and creating jobs for the “boys” at the expense of the electorate.

For a small and landlocked country like Zimbabwe, we don’t need too many Cabinet ministries and various bodies to run smoothly.

If our leaders really cared about the welfare of their citizens, then the country would be sufficiently served by not more than 13 ministries and government will find it prudent to dispose non-performing parastatals.

In these difficult times when most companies are struggling to stay afloat and unemployment has reached an all-time high of over 85 percent and consumers have little disposable incomes, progressive governments will ensure that  their citizens are well taken care of.

However, in our abnormal situation, we have a government that is doing everything in its power to burden the taxpayer, while at the same time depriving them of their civil and property rights.

We demand an end to this madness because we deserve better as a people and not to live like second class citizens in our own nation.

Zimbabwe belongs to all Zimbabweans and not a particular clique in Zanu PF.

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