|Professor Amon Murwira|
More employers are now beginning to trust the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) because it is no longer a vehicle for self-enrichment but for skills creation, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Amon Murwira has said.
Speaking to members of the media fraternity at his offices in Harare last week, Murwira said there has been a turnaround in how Zimdef is conducting its affairs.
“We have put governance systems in place and today Zimdef does not borrow and companies that contribute towards Zimdef are beginning to trust it. So their contributions are increasing; all these innovation hubs we are building are being built though Zimdef. That is evidence of a governance turnaround,” said Murwira.
He said there had hitherto been a culture of non-accountability and transparency at the institution, resulting in dubious payments being made to individuals.
“When we arrived, we started putting some of it to good use. I remember by that time, a minister was giving themselves a quarter of a million dollars called Minister’s Protocol. But I rejected it. There is no budget system that works like that.
“Their deeds had been given to CBZ as surety. So people were being paid by CBZ (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe) because their own money had been finished. The money had been stolen, there was no money,” he said.
Murwira’s predecessor, Professor Jonathan Moyo, who is in self-imposed exile in Kenya, was indicted for embezzling over US$200 000 from Zimdef.
Moyo’s then deputy Dr Gondfrey Gandawa, his former personal assistant Shephard Honzeri and then Zimdef CEO Fredrick Mandizvidza and have also been in courts for conniving to defraud the fund of hundreds of thousands of US dollars.
Established by Section 23 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act, 1984 (now revised Manpower Planning and Development Act Chapter 28:02 of 1996), Zimdef’s objective is financing the development of key skills needed in the economy.
“Since 2018 to date, Zimdef has channeled more than $605 million towards the establishment of innovation hubs and industrial parks as key inputs to industrialisation and modernisation,” Zimdef claims on its website.
Murwira said the country was endowed with massive economic potential which required its people ton harness and turn into tangible wealth.
“This country has a lot of opportunities and one of the things we have done is just to recognise that people of this country are very good, they just need a good framework in which to work. So it’s just the framework the framework we provided and that framework encourages private sector cooperation and collaboration,” said Murwira.