THERE is a debate currently raging on whether or not the government should take over the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) debt of $1,3 billion.
One school of thought is advocating for debtors to pay their portion of the debt. On another hand, there is demand for the publicising of the debtors, especially debtors on the farm mechanisation programme.
If the whole transaction was as transparent as one would want the country to believe, why not submit the debtors list for Parliament and people to see?
Gideon Gono provided interesting revelations. For example, he argues that RBZ can raise $1 billion of the debt, through disposing of the non-core assets that can be sold.
On another dimension, he claims that the State owes RBZ $1,5 billion, which further complicates the debate. If that is the financial position of RBZ to the government, why not settle for a set off?
Instead of clarifying issues in this emotive debate, the former RBZ governor is complicating matters. Gono argues that Parliament has been supplied a one-legged transaction. Indeed, it is one-legged in the sense that the report captures the creditors without debtors.
As the former chief of the RBZ, Gono need not be reminded of the elementary double entry accounting principle.
Munyaradzi Kereke cannot be relied upon, owing to controversies with the former governor. When it suits him, Kereke comes to Gono’s corner, especially when it comes to refusal to publish the list of debtors. When it is advantageous to him, he nails the former governor. Kereke alleged that the RBZ Bill has been inflated by
2 500%. It is not clear whether or not the said percentage refers to the Zim dollar era or the US dollar dispensation.
Records of an organisation should be such that the successor is in a position to understand and explain the transactions involved. It is unfortunate for Gono to write off the current Finance minister and RBZ governor as incapable of explaining the said RBZ debt.
It is unfair for Kereke to chair or being part of a parliamentary committee dealing with RBZ bank debt, as he is an interested party by virtue of having been advisor to the then RBZ governor before their fallout. Given a chance he may be tempted to settle old scores with Gono.
The structure and time frame of the said debt is not much of contention, but the composition of debtors, as well as the purpose for which the loans were used.
Indeed Gono, contrary to his denial, he is seeking to enter parliament by default, as evidenced by his own admission that incumbent Finance minister and RBZ governor are not qualified to deal with the contentious RBZ bank debt, implying that he is the only one qualified to do so.
As if this was not enough he views legislators and presenters of the report as ignorant and accuses possibly Kereke of misrepresenting facts. The same good accounting practices and fair commerce principles do not reflect in his presentation either.
Why rubble rousing about the RBZ debt when there are more deserving debts? Good example are hospitals and medical aid societies debts and those owed local authorities by government departments, businesses and residents?
The publishing of the composition of RBZ debtors is critical. Past records have revealed that debtors with huge bills in Zesa, local authorities and business are government and its senior officials.
It is therefore not surprising that there is reluctance in making public the beneficiaries of the RBZ debt.
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