By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president, Tamuka Macheka has bemoaned poor budget allocations being devoted towards infrastructure development by government.
He was speaking at a business meeting held recently.
Macheka said if the problem was unaddressed, the country risked losing the much needed Foreign Direct Investment.
He urged government and local authorities to prioritise infrastructure development.
“We need to increase capital expenditure. Other countries have pegged their infrastructure budget at seven percent but our country’s allocation for infrastructure is currently at one percent.
“We therefore need to increase infrastructure budget to around five percent.
“Our 2019 budget is projected around US$8 billion. Out of that, employment costs will gobble US$4 billion while capital expenditure is around US$2 billion and within this amount, that is where the allocation for infrastructure is, hence the need to urgently address that and catch up with other countries that we are competing with,” he said.
The ZNCC boss criticised the current glitches in the country which are being caused by malfunctioning infrastructure, warning that investors will be deterred from injecting capital.
“No investors need to come into a country where there is no water and electricity and are told to drill boreholes revert to solar use.
“This kind of ‘make a plan scenario’ will only work for locals but not investors. So there is need to make sure that our infrastructure works,” he said.
Macheka also questioned why state enterprises continued to fail despite operating under management boards in the same environment in which private enterprises were thriving.
“Where is the problem? Is it with the boards or the supervision? We get so excited about issues being unearthed from these companies but when they were earthed, where were we? How many of you have seen people corpses being raised in a post mortem from a hospital? Nobody,” he said.
He urged stakeholders to be proactive and give meaningful input prior the appointment of board members and suggested that parliamentarians must play a critical role in the appointment of state enterprises board members.