Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joel Biggie Matiza has urged stakeholders in the transport sector to upscale strategic efforts to turn around fortunes of a sector blighted by rampant corruption.
Speaking at the ongoing Strategic Planning workshop for ministerial departments and parastatals including, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), Matiza called for an action oriented approach.
"It is sad to note the alarming levels of corruption in the transport sector. Your presence here is not only to discuss business processes and forget about ethical dilemmas affecting government operations. I hope that you attach as much importance as I do to the fight against corruption, and to the role of good governance in ensuring inclusive development.
"Corruption especially harms the poor, they are the ones most in the need of public goods but they cannot obtain services just because they cannot pay a bribe. This alone is discriminatory and has to stop. The government also loses much needed revenue due to corruption.
"We can take umbrage and deep exception to corruption and incompetence accusations, levelled against some of our Departments and parastatals, but this will not change public perception. We need to prove them wrong through our actions, commitment and dedication," said Matiza.
As government concluded austerity measures under the Transitional Stabilisation Plan (TSP) focus has been shifted to increased productivity towards what, Matiza, termed 'radical socio-economic transformation'.
He called for introspection over the below par performance of the sector in 2019, as well as setting up of a performance based implementation matrix across all levels of the Ministry.
"The implementation of the TSP is two phased. The first phase of austerity ended last year and stabilized the economy through fiscal and financial reforms. The government is now geared towards the second phase of increased productivity accompanied by radical socio-economic transformation.
"This workshop is a platform for us to take stock of our performance during the year and, based on the facts on the ground, come up with realistic targets for 2020. Our yearly objectives should be SMART, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and should have a time-frame.
"This old formula is action oriented and key in changing the business as usual approach, you may therefore need to consider having an implementation matrix with daily or weekly targets at Department or State Entry level," said Matiza.
On the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), Matiza commended efforts to finalize the works at RG Mugabe International Airport as part of a broader strategy including re-engagement efforts through bi-lateral talks, to revamp the national airline.
He also said while government is supporting the national rail carrier, there was need to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to mitigate at against delays in finalization of the National Railways of Zimbabwe recapitalization programme.
"Further, I note the progress and continued re-engagement with other countries and airlines across the world through bi-lateral meetings. These should continue to boost business in all sectors of the economy.
"Allow me to also acknowledge the continued operations of Air Zimbabwe regardless of the challenges the National Airline is facing a financial point of view. As you are aware, Government is implementing the Turn-around Strategy for the Airline. My office will continue to push for the successful implementation of the Strategy.
"In the interim, Air Zimbabwe needs to consider more strategies for increasing revenue collection and attracting more clients in line with its planned financial projections.
"I acknowledge the need to develop a comprehensive strategic plan by national Railways of Zimbabwe, which is aimed at restructuring and streamlining operations. The Ministry is aware of the challenges at NRZ and will continue to provide support to the entity.
"It is however sad to note the lack of progress on the Recapitalization Programme, following the cancellation of the DIDG/Transnet Consortium. I urge you to urgently finalize the matter and proceed as directed by Cabinet," said Matiza.