By Walter Nyamukondiwa
Hurungwe West legislator Temba Mliswa says Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa must cut Government expenditure on luxuries such as top-of-the-range vehicles before looking for money elsewhere.
Mliswa said the penchant for luxury vehicles was “out of this world”, noting that Government, the largest buyer of Mercedes Benz and Range Rover SUV, should get a dealership or buy a stake in one of the dealers to remove middlemen and arbitrage.
Mliswa was speaking at the Chinhoyi Press Club last week, where he said the way Government purchased vehicles created room for corruption and profiteering.
Mliswa said such expenditure was unnecessary in an economy reeling from a liquidity crunch and low capacity utilisation. He welcomed a recent decision to direct Government departments and parastatals to buy locally assembled vehicles.
“Before the Finance Minister looks for money, he must cut down on Government expenditure because there is a lot of money that can come from there,” he said.
“All the Mercedes Benz and Range Rovers around, why can’t Government get a dealership? Why would they allow a private company to supply the vehicles?”
Mliswa said the country, especially Government, should be prepared to forgo certain luxuries if the dream to rebuild the economy was to be realised.
“We cannot talk of rebuilding the country if the bulk of the money we are generating is directed towards luxury things like cars,” he said.
“The Finance Minister should go in a Mazda 626 if need be until such a time when we can afford taking our children to school on a plane.
But it takes savings on our part.”
Mliswa also criticised demands for vehicles by Parliamentarians, saying everyone should start prioritising things that help a majority of the people.
He said instead of a vehicle, he would rather channel the money towards purchase of two ambulances in his constituency, which he said would create employment for at least four people.
Mliswa said Zimbabwe should seriously implement the Buy Zimbabwe campaign, saying retailers who were importing the bulk of their products, should be directed to support local producers such as farmers.
“We must capacitate our local producers, be they farmers or manufacturers, by directing companies to support local producers over a period of time before banning the wholesale importation of goods,” Mliswa, who is also Mashonaland West Zanu-PF provincial chairman, said.
Mliswa said the electorate should be “smart” about the people they elect, saying legislators should represent the people and make progressive contributions in Parliament. The Herald