By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
14 April 2014
Zimbabwe’s 355 MPs could each soon receive $30,000 car loans in a development that will cost the taxpayer close to $15 million, a weekly newspaper has reported.
The Zimbabwe Independent quoted an MP saying: ‘It is increasingly clear that each legislator will be given a US$30,000 car loan to purchase vehicles locally.’ The unnamed MP said the legislators held ‘a series of meetings which also discussed allowances and salaries’ with government.
The news comes at a time when the government is struggling to pay civil servants salaries and to improve service delivery across the board. The MPs have not received their allowances in full since last year while the country’s infrastructure lies desolate and dilapidated.
But while the government has struggled with its wage bill it has been spending on luxury vehicles without restraint. In September last year the government spent almost $20 million on luxury cars, including Mercedes Benz for the cabinet ministers.
Two months later the State Procurement Board invited bids for the supply of Isuzu trucks and Toyota Prados for the MPs and government ministers. Prior to that government had floated yet another tender for 100 Ford Ranger double cab vehicles.
At the time the tenders were floated, the government was criticized for purchasing vehicles from outside the country instead of buying from the local manufactures. The parliamentary committee for industry and commerce lobbied for the ‘Ford deal’ to go to the struggling Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries.