Newly appointed Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says he will rely on information that staff at the ministry will provide in deciding the next move regarding the re-introduction of a national airline.
Speaking when Hot FM phoned him to find out how he would handle the controversial reintroduction of Zambia Airways which started under his predecessor Dr Brian Mushimba, Kafwaya said he would decide whether to modify, push ahead or change the strategy regarding the matter once he settles down.
“The re-launch of Zambia Airways is something I talked about as a person but outside of the information government is keeping in the Ministry of Transport and Communication. But now, I will talk about it with the full knowledge of all of the issues surrounding it. But that I can only do in the next day or two [after I settle]. What I will be looking out to do is to improve on the value addition for the Zambian people, that’s the most important thing. So everything will be looked at from an informed perspective. We have to analyse the issues as they are sitting. We need to look at considerations which were made, we need to look at where we are and what new considerations we have to add to the initial thinking so that we modify, we push ahead or be able to change the strategy. Because obviously, the focus is the Zambian people,” Kafwaya said.
“So all of the things will be analysed on the basis of information that is available and we’ll take decisions that are informed. So for me, my issue is to settle down very quickly and begin to look at the factors that surround decisions and think about pushing forward or actually modifying or indeed changing the course of direction regarding this because as we know, as people and as leaders, we are emotionally considered differently and we think differently. So I need to rely on information.”
And Kafwaya said there was need to look at other strategies to ensure TAZARA was being managed in a manner that promoted employees and stakeholders who had injected capital in the asset.
“We have a situation where we have given 30 per cent of the heavy cargo to the railway sector. And I think that’s one way in which we can boost the railway revenue and we also have to look at other strategies to make sure that the management of TAZARA is actually managing the asset in a manner that promotes, not only management itself but also other employees and other stakeholders who have injected capital in the asset. So for me, it’s a question of quick analysis and then coming to the environment, then we must ask ourselves, ‘do we have the right management, do we have the right skills, do we have the right composition of the board, are we getting good advice from the board into TAZARA, is TAZARA failing to implement strategy or are there no opportunities?’ So we have to look at a broad range of issues that affect TAZARA and be able to assist TAZARA to move forward. I think that for a company like TAZARA, it’s meaningless for them to be failing to pay their workers,” Kafwaya said.
He, however, could not say whether or not government would proceed with the introduction of the internet tax, saying it was a preserve of the Ministry of Finance.
“I think that the introduction or abolishing of taxes is a preserve of the Ministry of Finance, it’s not my role and it’s not our role to introduce or abolish taxes. What I do think is if Ministry of Finance thinks there is an opportunity on the taxation of social media, our role is to provide the information to the Ministry of Finance. I think that is completely outside of my jurisdiction,” said Kafwaya.