The Herald (Harare)

28 February 2013

Zimbabwe: GMB New System to Improve Connectivity

The Grain Marketing Board yesterday commissioned a satellite system that would see improved connectivity amongst depots nationwide and facilitating the exchange of information, record keeping and transparency within the organisation.

The new system, Very Small Aperture Terminal, is set to address the challenges of limited connectivity and loses. Some of these losses have been blamed on thefts at most of its depots.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony at Concession Depot yesterday, GMB general manager Mr Albert Mandizha said the system would go a long way in bridging the gap existing between rural and urban areas.

"Commercial tele-communication companies bent on maximising return on their capital investment have not been eager to extend their optic fibre cable into low density areas where returns per kilometre of optic fibre installed would be lower than in high populated areas.

"To bridge this gap that has impeded the successful implementation of SAP, GMB has decided to use VSAT to connect all its depots in the rural areas onto its wide area network," he said.

Eleven out 84 depots nationwide have so far been connected to the new system.

Thirty others are connected to the parastatal's wide area network.

Mr Mandizha said VSAT would ensure timeous production of financial statements, reduce the time taken by external auditors to audit accounts, improve decision-making, improve productivity and enhance transparency in the payment of farmers.

Mashonaland West Governor and Resident Minister Martin Dinha said the new system would assist towards ensuring the country's food security.

He hailed GMB's support towards the agriculture sector.

He however called on Government to expedite the commercialisation of public enterprises such as GMB to unlock value for the benefit of Zimbabweans.

"Commercialisation will take the pressure off the fiscus as public enterprises will surely return to profitability and be able to sustain themselves. It is my hope that the Ministry of Finance will quickly consider and facilitate this arrangement that should enable you to improve ICTs as well as boost your logistical fleet ," he said.

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