GMB, ZimParks face uncertain future

HARARE - The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) face an uncertain future due to heavy losses, the Daily News can report.

An audit of State-owned enterprises by the Auditor-General (AG) revealed that the State granary risks bankruptcy if it continues to operate in the red.

The same applies to ZimParks.

In the case of GMB, the parastatal made a loss of $32 391 307 and had accumulated losses amounting to $208 968 178 as at March 31, 2017.

“These circumstances indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the board’s ability to continue operating as a going concern,” said AG Mildred Chiri in her latest report for the financial year ended December 31, 2017.

The report was tabled before Parliament by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

GMB was established in 1931 under the Maize Control Act in response to the 1930 world recession.

Under the Maize Control Act the major responsibility was to store, market and control trade of maize, to ensure national food security in Zimbabwe.

It deals in cereals, oil seeds and the strategic grain reserve as well as the input scheme on behalf of government.

Turning to ZimParks, Chiri said the authority incurred a loss after tax of $6 million as at December 2016, adding it had a net current liability position of $3 072 806.

“These conditions indicate the existence of material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the authority’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Chiri said.

She added that the situation was compounded by financial loss due to unauthorised expenditure that includes board members being paid sitting allowances at astronomical rates.

Chiri also raised the red flag over tax holiday allowances which the authority’s directors were benefitting from.

“The authority’s directors were paid holiday allowances which were not subjected to tax as provided for by the Income Tax Act,” Chiri said.

Chiri further noted that at least 23 parastatals are failing to adequately and sustainably provide the services for which they were created.

She pointed out that some had made questionable financial deals that expose them to huge losses.

ZimParks operates under an Act of Parliament, the Parks and Wildlife Act of 1975.

It manages one of the largest estates in the country, about five million hectares of land or 13 percent of Zimbabwe’s total land area.

Most of the parks are located in ecological regions four and five or rugged mountainous areas which would not have much economic alternative use.

ZimParks has a mandate to manage the entire wildlife population of Zimbabwe, whether on private or communal lands.

Private landowners can utilise the wildlife on their land but are still accountable to the authority for the welfare of the animals.

Power utility Zesa Holdings and its subsidiaries were among the troubled State entities.

Also skating on thin ice is the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management, ZimPost, Allied Timbers and the National University of Science and Technology.


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