Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati has revealed that government spends K2 billion on maintaining and servicing of government vehicles annually.

And Mutati says the Government Printers will be ready to Print Ballot papers by 2021 as K5.6 million has already been released to revamp it.

At a press briefing in Lusaka, Thursday, Mutati admitted that there was something wrong with spending K2 billion annually towards maintenance and servicing government vehicles.

“The fourth area of priority is that we are going to finalise is the Transport and Policy for government and private sector in general, and also establish the Fleet Management system. Most of you may not be aware that its costing us, as government, K2 billion annually as audited by the Ministry of Finance in maintenance and other related costs of government transport. Surely, something is wrong with that,” Mutati said.

“So we need a policy, who must have a vehicle? As it is everybody is just running around etcetera, etcetera. Are we monitoring movement, fuel consumption, repairs, insurance? Are we holding on to vehicles that are beyond their life time? So we need a policy, we need a fleet management system in order for us to control that. And in addition we also need to be thinking about how can we finance government fleet? Do we go to Toyota and cut out checks? Surely there are other ways of financing the government fleet. Just now we are looking at 400 hundred vehicles to be added. And when you multiply times US Dollar per unit, its huge. And we will be incapable to finance it in the short term. And therefore, we are going to continue to say ‘I don’t have a vehicle, I don’t have a vehicle’, its because we are not innovative in the way we think. And surely there are other ways. On the other hand, we have got all these vehicles that are broken down etcetera, etcetera, and we are holding on to them. Why don’t we let go? Creating a revenue stream that can help in the replacement of motor vehicles. So we think this is a key priority because the target is fiscal consolidation. How do we reduce the annual expenditure from K2 billion to whatever that lower number is? We think it’s a very important issue from where we stand. So the whole thing of Transport policy and Management is really, really important.”

He said the ministry would finalise and implement the Transport Policy within three months to avoid mismanagement of resources.

“The priorities first of all that I have articulated this morning are for 2018. We must begin to move in that direction. So the implementation of the transport policy, in terms of our time table, it must be implemented within three months. The implementation of the fleet management system must also be done within three months because, we already have a system at finance called IFMIS. And IFMIS has got a component which is called The Transport Fleet Manangement Module, which has been laying idol. So all it requires is for us to be able to implement. By doing those things we begin to attack the 2 billion that is being spent on fleet management,” he said.

And Mutati said Government Printers will be ready to print ballot papers by 2021.

“As we sit today, in the past couple of days, we have been fortunate to receive K5.6 million which will go towards some of the works that Government Printers need to do including payment of some of the equipment that has been received…when we visit Government Printers in two weeks time, we will show you the transformation that has taken place at Government Printers, it is happening, it is not a wish,” said Mutati.

“First of all, you must understand that Government Printers does a lot of things, and one, we want to expand the product and service portfolio of Government Printers. We want to dilute the significance of ballot printing purposes, that it’s just a small component of the overall sustainability and viability of Government Printers. We already have equipment and we need additional equipment in order for us to be ready for 2021. But that equipment must not be dedicated alone to printing ballot papers. It is to be dedicated to ancoring the viability and sustainability of government printers.”

He said government could save about US$7 million by printing ballot papers locally.