Kereke says reviving economy is the only way to combat corruption


0

Bikita West Member of Parliament Munyaradzi Kereke says reviving the country’s economy is the only way to combat corruption because “when the economy is underperforming, the civil service is underpaid, the private sector keeps workers without paying salaries; it becomes a haven for corruption”.

Kereke, the former advisor to the former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, said: “People who are supposed to be doing their work as they have signed up for, start to bargain for favours and you have people being paid through corrupt activities.”

In his contribution to the current debate on good governance, Kereke said state enterprises were not looking at the gravity of corruption on the economy.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, our parastatals should see the gravity and importance of this debate in this House. When you sum up the GMB, the NRZ, Air Zimbabwe, ARDA and several other parastatals and public institutions, you will find that their tentacles intersect with every other sector in the economy.

“For tobacco farmers to do well, the coal must move from Hwange and other mines in time for tobacco farmers to treat their tobacco. For our tourism sector to prosper, Air Zimbabwe must be doing justice to what it is supposed to be doing. For the country to have enough strategic reserves, state land as is, under institutions like ARDA ought to be productive. “

He said the main problem was that no one was supervising the operations of state enterprises.

“When we see the happenings at Air Zimbabwe, the GMB, et cetera, where are the executives? The boards that are appointed are subservient to management teams at our parastatals. The board member comes, they are ushered in and welcomed by exquisite perks such as motor vehicles.

“We need perhaps to delink the payments for boards with the institutions they oversee. Mr. Speaker Sir, I will elaborate. Where a board is drawing direct benefits from an institution it is overseeing, the risk looms large that the board will be compromised if it is a public institution.

“We have a case where the audit function of the Government is not resident at every institution. That gives the Comptroller and Auditor- General independence over the institutions which they audit. Perhaps Mr. Speaker Sir, this House should consider as part of the debate on corruption, to delink the incomes of board members at parastatals from those institutions.

“We would have a centralised fund perhaps situated in a given Ministry or the Treasury, which would pay a standard board fee to board members. Such that the maximum those board members can derive from an institution is mineral water and biscuits as they deliberate in their boardrooms. That way, they will be genuine supervisors.

“How can a board member who is getting a free Mercedes Benz or a V8 and hefty salaries, regiment a member of management who is not towing the line? It will be cutting one’s source of income. So, I think, we need to delink so that we create independence.”

Full contribution:

MR. KEREKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to add some contributions to the motion which was ably tabled in the House regarding the lack of implementation of corporate governance. Mr. Speaker Sir, what perhaps is more urgent is the need to introspect as a country and assure ourselves as to the existence of the relevant institutions which this House so farsightedly, put in place through the various statutes. One of such institutions is the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission.

As is proposed in the motion, I want to second that this House advocates that the relevant authorities put in place the human capital as is required to mann the Anti-Corruption Commission. Secondly, the issue around resourcing of our institutions, we may debate, deliberate and come up with all policies even to the extent of resolving, hypothetically speaking that he or she who corrupts shall lose a limb but if there are no resources, we may not have axes to cut the limps. Such a resolution will not come to pass. I want to urge Mr. Speaker Sir that we think carefully in terms of resourcing our institutions.

Due to the underperformance of the economy, as we saw the budget which this House so eloquently, debated and approved, we do not have adequate resources. As long as we say, corruption is a vice which must be dealt with in the economy, we must in the same breath accept and agree that there are no adequate resources that are supporting those institutions which must help curb and fight corruption.

Mr. Speaker Sir, another institution which is very effective in the day to day course of its operations in curbing corruption is the Zimbabwe Republic Police. When we analyse the budgets that we see going to this institution, we also need to say would we be able to fight corruption across the provinces of the country at the current levels of resources.

I think part of the solutions to fighting corruption is to fight the underperformance of the economy. When the economy is underperforming, the Civil Service is underpaid, the private sector keeps workers without paying salaries; it becomes a haven for corruption.

People who are supposed to be doing their work as they have signed up for, start to bargain for favours and you have people being paid through corrupt activities. So much has been said about the general infrastructure in terms of funding institutions that ought to fight corruption.

Mr. Speaker Sir, our parastatals should see the gravity and importance of this debate in this House. When you sum up the GMB, the NRZ, Air Zimbabwe, ARDA and several other parastatals and public institutions, you will find that their tentacles intersect with every other sector in the economy.

For tobacco farmers to do well, the coal must move from Hwange and other mines in time for tobacco farmers to treat their tobacco. For our tourism sector to prosper, Air Zimbabwe must be doing justice to what it is supposed to be doing. For the country to have enough strategic reserves, state land as is, under institutions like ARDA ought to be productive.

What we see happening Mr. Speaker Sir, is what in some quarters is called the Nut Island effect. This is in reference to a case where there is a small island in the outskirts of Boston in America where the sewage treatment plant is situated in an island called the Nut Island.

Everyone wanted to be resident far away from the sewage plant where the action is happening and no one went there to supervise. Are the pumps being renovated, are they being repaired? The effect was that those at the core-face started to improvise. Where there is supposed to be a nut, they put a stick, where there is supposed to be a chain they put a quilt. When the tipping point came, the plant burst and the whole city was paralysed.

The allegory Mr. Speaker Sir, is to say our parastatals are not being supervised. The Head of State spoke eloquently on this, to say the issue of supervision is lacking and it is one of the areas we need to deliberate and find a way of also having performance matrices that our executives come and present here as Parliament does its oversight.

When we see the happenings at Air Zimbabwe, the GMB, et cetera, where are the executives? The boards that are appointed are subservient to management teams at our parastatals. The board member comes, they are ushered in and welcomed by exquisite perks such as motor vehicles.

We need perhaps to delink the payments for boards with the institutions they oversee. Mr. Speaker Sir, I will elaborate. Where a board is drawing direct benefits from an institution it is overseeing, the risk looms large that the board will be compromised if it is a public institution.

We have a case where the audit function of the Government is not resident at every institution. That gives the Comptroller and Auditor- General independence over the institutions which they audit. Perhaps Mr. Speaker Sir, this House should consider as part of the debate on corruption, to delink the incomes of board members at parastatals from those institutions.

We would have a centralised fund perhaps situated in a given Ministry or the Treasury, which would pay a standard board fee to board members. Such that the maximum those board members can derive from an institution is mineral water and biscuits as they deliberate in their boardrooms. That way, they will be genuine supervisors.

How can a board member who is getting a free Mercedes Benz or a V8 and hefty salaries, regiment a member of management who is not towing the line? It will be cutting one’s source of income. So, I think, we need to delink so that we create independence.

The other thing Mr. Speaker Sir that is perpetuating the scourge of corruption is general inertia to act. Please, if we are serious about corruption, when we find it, let us deal with it. We have a situation where in our country you become an endangered species for wanting to advocate the fight against corruption. We must not allow that to happen.

We need to ensure that the whip of anti-corruption sees no colour, gender or perking order in our society. Whether you are in this company or you are of this totem, if you are corrupt, please – the law should take its course and correct the corrupt tendencies.

Mr. Speaker Sir, for as long as we continue to avoid taking action, our economic projections, the honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development so eloquently presented, even unsatisfactory as they are, because our ambitions as a great country are high, we will not be able to meet those projections because corruption is delaying critical investment decisions that are supposed to be made.

Corruption is blocking investment inflows where one or two individuals demand that they are paid 10% or 5% for them to append their signature to a proposal to come and invest in Zimbabwe.

So, the scourge of corruption can never be fully debated in one bite but as a House collectively, I am convinced Mr. Speaker, under your stewardship, we should be able to come up with workable solutions that would reduce the scourge of corruption. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

(4 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *