The New Number Plate Revolving Fund has been running without management committee since its formation and this seems deliberate because it has become a cash cow for the Ministry of Transport which has been diverting some of the funds for its own use.
New number plates were introduced in March 2005.
The ministry diverted almost $30 million from the fund to finance the troubled national airline Air Zimbabwe and when questioned the Permanent Secretary Munesu Munodawafa said this was a loan but there were no loan contract documents.
According to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the fund had disbursed $22.9 million to Air Zimbabwe by the end of 2013. It gave Air Zimbabwe another loan of $7.6 million in 2014.
On the management committee, the PAC said it “noted with concern that there was a deliberate effort by the Permanent Secretary to downplay the need of a vibrant management committee to administer the fund.
“The challenges besetting the fund are just numerous to guarantee and instil public confidence that there is proper safeguard and management of public resources under this fund. The fund is rather a cash cow for the ministry which is not the intent and purpose for which it was set.”
The fund was established to import blank registration plates of the specifications stipulated in the vehicle registration and licensing regulations and incidental materials, for production of vehicle registration number plates and sell to vehicle owners.
The PAC gave the ministry up to 30h September 2017 to put in place a viable management committee to administer the fund and demonstrate ample evidence that the committee was now in charge of the affairs of the fund.
The PAC also gave the ministry until the end of this year to assess whether there is need for the ministry to still retain the current percentage of the fund revenue in view of the amounts were extended to Air Zimbabwe.
Munodawafa was transferred from the ministry to that of Mines last month.
Continued next page