By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWE needs urgent transformation starting with modernization of infrastructure, Harare East legislator Tendai Biti has said in response to a Parliamentary committee report on corruption at ZESA.
Contributing to debate on the supply and distribution of transformers last week, the former finance minister bemoaned the state of infrastructure countrywide.
“My appeal is that it is important to have democracy, to be different but I think let us put our people first. Let us build this country through a democratic developmental ideology and philosophy,” he said.
“This country needs a radical transformation and it starts with modernization of infrastructure, issues of I do not care attitude, state capture, lack of competence and coordination must be dealt with,” Biti said.
His comments came after a report by Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy exposed corruption in the manufacture of transformers.
The country is struggling with a transformer shortage despite a 2005 deal between Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and a private company, ZENT, being sealed some years back to manufacture them locally.
“The Audit Report by Kudenga D.B.O. on ZESA; the Public Accounts committee was not allowed to debate this report because it showed massive shenanigans, massive transfer pricing and transfer of resources to South Korea.
“I see no reason why that nascent idea that was planted then should not have been actualized by making sure that we become a fully-fledged transformer manufacturing country,” added Biti.
Zimbabwe, the opposition legislator added, could become an industrial power if students are taught to produce with government injecting required resources.
“Our industries have become museums, in Bulawayo many of the industries are now churches, industrial factories have been converted to shells,” he said.
“Countries move by the lever, by science and technology.”
He added; “Let us find each other so that we can subordinate politics and talk about development issues.
“Zimbabwe with 63 minerals has nothing to show for it. We have nothing, Zero.”
According to the report which was tabled by Committee chairperson Joel Gabbuza, local manufacturers can produce 100,250 transformers per month if well resourced.
“ZENT’s capacity to produce since 2005 to 2017 has gone down due to equipment that is now obsolete. It used to produce 3,000 transformers per annum through credit.
“Since January last year ZENT has manufactured only 161 transformers due to foreign currency shortages and Covid-19 outbreak,” Gabbuza said.