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Zimbabwe civil servants abuse car import facility

by Staff reporter
16 Jul 2023 at 09:15hrs | Views
THE Government has expressed concern over the continued abuse of the duty-free car import facility for civil servants amid revelations that more than 14 000 vehicles have been unprocedurally imported through the scheme.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual human resources convention hosted by the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ) in Victoria Falls on Friday, chairperson of Public Service Commissions Dr Rosemary Tsitsi Choruma said the Government has instituted investigations into the matter and was determined to nip the rot in the bud.

Government last year introduced the duty-free facility to enable civil servants who meet some requirements such as having a valid driver's licence and having served for not less than 10 years in the civil service to be allowed to import a vehicle every five years where the car value depends on employee grade. However, some civil servants have been abusing the facility importing cars for other people including relatives and car dealers for a fee, charging around US$700 and above depending on the vehicle type.

Dr Choruma said it was unfortunate that the facility was being abused and the PSC was working with Treasury and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to address the issue.

"We are working with Treasury and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to ascertain whether the benefits that we accord to public servants actually benefit the public servants. We are doing our own analysis as Public Service Commission in terms of how far the duty-free programme is benefiting them and who has benefitted and how are they utilizing the benefits," she said.

Dr Choruma said the PSC was monitoring concerns coming through regarding abuse of the facility which was put as part of measures to improve the welfare of Government employees.

"We understand that some are importing cars for garages that sell cars and some for their relatives. Our concern is that we cannot allow abuse. I think we have plus or minus 14 000 cars if am not mistaken. That's a huge number because it's not just free benefit, Government forfeits revenue by allowing these cars to come in. So, we are saying yes, our employees cannot afford to buy cars, and for you to afford we can remove the tariff but now if our employees are using that tariff to benefit other quotas we wonder," said Dr Choruma.

She said the validation exercise was a normal process and would be done on any other facility extended to public servants by Government to make sure the right people benefit. The investigation exercise is part of a raft of measures the PSC, on behalf of Government is implementing in an effort to reform and modernise the public service.

Some of the measures include rolling out a biometric system to all civil service offices as part of digital efforts to implement performance-based remuneration of Government workers leveraging on technology and to also result on roll-out of e-pay slips. The reform exercise also targets workers' perceptions and attitude which over the years have been blamed for poor service delivery.

Speaking earlier at the conference, Dr Choruma said the public service vision was to become a game changer and walk in the mantra of leaving no one and no place behind. She said there was need to value new skills and proper project management skills to manage the projects Zimbabwe was implementing, and human resources practitioners were important in driving the development agenda because human capital was the key resource that Government had.

She said to transform what they deliver, they needed to transform how they deliver as they prepare civil servants for the future. The conference which was attended by human resources practitioners from across the country's business fields was held under the theme: "Repositioning human capital for the new world of work" and it ended yesterday.

Source - The Sunday News