THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has blasted government for failing to implement structural reforms at national airliner Air Zimbabwe.

On Monday, Transport minister Felix Mhona appointed a six-member board chaired by Silvano Gwarinda, whose members are Ruth Raina Hungwe-Rukarwa, Edmund Murambiwa Makona, Lawrence Simbarashe Musendekwa, Ticharwa Garabga and Mucharemba Kahombe.

In a statement yesterday, Zimcodd, however, said government was missing the point by appointing a board at Air Zimbabwe which has been struggling for over two decades and is failing to provide optimum service delivery and to ply regional and international routes that it used to service. “Air Zimbabwe needs structural reforms and political will and not board appointments,” the statement read.

“In 1980, Air Zimbabwe was regarded as one of the best airlines in Africa competing on international routes. Currently, Air Zimbabwe services domestic routes such as Victoria Falls and Bulawayo and has been booted out of the international routes due to archaic and dilapidating airlines except for Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and other regional destinations.

“It is rather worrying that for a country that has ambitions of attaining an upper middle-class economy by 2030 it does not have a single inter-continental airline… In 2018, the state airline was put under the administration of Grant Thornton in terms of the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act (Chapter 24:27) from the 4th of October to the 30th of June 2021. This was an attempt to redress the challenges that the parastatal was encountering.”

Zimcodd said the appointment of six members does not show government sincerity in revamping the state airline.

“The 2014 salarygate and the recent National Social Security Authority scandal are clear cases pointing to the rot in the public sector. Self-aggrandisement and rent-seeking are at the core of parastatal bosses’ decision making, all being facilitated by agent-principal theory.

“The rationale behind the appointment of six directors after the purchase of one 50-seater jet defies logic and glamourises wholesome populistic appointments earmarked to advance the vested interests of individuals rather than national growth and development,” Zimcodd added.

Source Newsday