By Own Correspondent
The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is galloping an estimated ZWL$ 40 million per month from the government coffers through subsidies that are being channelled towards the parastatal.
The money signifies the government’s failure to reform State Enterprise Parastatals to ensure that all government entities are self-sustainable by making their operations.
Speaking to press last Friday, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube acknowledge that the operations of the transport company was not viable and revealed that his ministry has been pumping resources into the company as a social protection initiative.
“The issue about ZUPCO is not just a social protection issue it’s also about to ensure that our cities work. For cities to function as drivers of growth they need efficient public transportation system so ZUPCO is not just about the subsidy which is also good for social protection reasons, we are spending about ZWL$ 40 Million a month just on the ZUPCO transportation subsidy,” said Ncube.
ZUPCO buses have come as a relief to most urbanites in the country owing to higher transport fares charged by private operators but analysts have warned against the continuous subsidy on ZUPCO buses as carrying a far much higher burden the company’s future.
Currently, Zupco buses plying the Harare CBD to Chitungwiza or Ruwa routes are charging as little as $ 1.50 against $ 8 charged by kombis while CBD to suburbs such as Glenorah, Hatfield, Waterfalls and Glenview are paying $1 on a Zupco bus while kombi in those areas is charging $ 5.
Over the past two decades, ZUPCO has seen its fleet of buses plummet drastically to a point where the company was literary moribund owing to high levels of corruption and an unsustainable business model which contributed to perennial loses.