STATUTORY agencies which have for a long time depended on Government grants will have to sustain themselves next year to remove the financial burden on the treasury, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Bob Sichinga has said.
Mr Sichinga said all statutory bodies will be required to sustain their operations considering that Government has limited resources.
And the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZW&MA) requires about US$ 1.2 million to meet its capital requirement in the medium term and has a statutory debt of K4 billion.
Mr Sichinga said it is long overdue that parastatal companies are weaned off Government financial support to channel resources to other social sectors.
He said this during the familiarisation tour of the ZW&MA offices in Lusaka on Wednesday.
Mr Sichinga said supporting recurrent costs of statutory institutions has become costly on the part of Government due to limited resources.
“Business as usual is over, we all have to pull our socks and roll our sleeves to sustain our institutions. As ZW&MA, you will be entitled to settle all your costs and build a fund that will enable you buy the equipment you require to operate to full capacity,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said the boards appointed in parastatal companies are not there to have fun but help in the management of companies.
“To survive, there is need to change…from 2012 we expect you to be independent and if you want salary increment, work for it. Every deductions taking place whether National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) or Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) should be remitted,” he said.
Mr Sichinga urged ZW&MA to ensure that all outstanding accrues are settled by the end of the year.
Earlier, ZW&MA chief executive officer Sokwani Chilembo said the agency is working on system failures that date back five years, adding that by the first quarter of 2012 all the agency’s system will be automated.
Mr Chilembo said the key challenge faced by the agency is limited manpower.
Commenting on the debt, he said the company is solvent and has negotiated a timeframe on key statutory obligations that were accrued from 2003 when the agency was formed.
“We have liquidated the principle on NAPSA dues and we are liquidating the principle on the ZRA dues that expires next month. We are current on all other legal obligations,” he said.
The agency’s aim is to improve the range of services provided.
[Zambia Daily Mail]