GOVERNMENT has moved to acquire up to 1 000 buses to strengthen Zupco’s fleet, with a long-term plan of increasing the fleet to over 3 000 buses as part of efforts to boost urban transport systems.
Already, 39 buses have arrived under this programme, with 500 more expected from Belarus, 200 from South Africa and 100 from China.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this on Tuesday during a post-Cabinet Press briefing.
“Cabinet approved measures to revitalise and partially privatise Zupco as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“More specifically, Cabinet agreed as follows; that Government continues to anchor and underwrite the drive to recapitalise Zupco, including through the engagement of a strategic partner; and that, to facilitate the success of the envisaged rapid bus transportation system, local authorities be supported in the construction and development of accessory infrastructure such as bus termini, bays and access lanes.”
The resuscitation of Zupco through partial privatisation is in tandem with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which seeks, among others, to ensure State owned Enterprises (SOEs) are returned to profitability so that they don’t perennially rely on fiscus for bailouts.
Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told journalists while responding to questions that negotiations for the coming of the buses are underway.
“The 500 buses from Belarus; all these are negotiations still underway. These (buses) are certainly coming on board, just watch this space and be patient,” said Prof Ncube.
“It’s not just Belarus, we are procuring 100 buses from China and then 200 buses from South Africa. Our intention in the interim is to have a target of 1 000 new buses and also try to crowd-in the local suppliers.
“But when Zupco is in full flight when the new partner comes in, we expect the bus yield to grow to 3 000 and higher.”
Prof Ncube said Government wants to strengthen the management and governance of Zupco so that the fleet is taken good care of.
Once the buses come, commuters will be relieved as they are being creamed off by kombis, which hike fares depending on the demand for transport.
Meanwhile, Government has expressed satisfaction with recovery efforts relating to Cyclone Idai victims with the World Food Programme expected to provide food assistance to 15 533 households.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was happy with the continuous honouring of pledges by everyone including the private sector partners after the devastating Cyclone Idai which claimed the lives of 347 people.
“Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement on progress in the recovery efforts pertaining to the cyclone disaster.
“Following the successful opening of all the affected schools in Chimanimani on Tuesday May 7, 2019, distribution of textbooks and related stationery donated by well-wishers such as UNICEF was now in progress throughout the district,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet had noted with satisfaction that the registration of beneficiaries for relief support has now been completed in 23 wards in Chipinge district, with the assistance of the world food programme (WFP).