Bad debtors threaten Ministry of Mines operations

The Ministry of Mines has been urged to embark on an aggressive method of recovering outstanding debts lest it might fail to deliver its mandate due to financial constraints.

This recommendation was made by Auditor General Mildred Chiri.

“Potential revenue due to the Ministry may remain uncollected, resulting in the Ministry failing to carry out its mandate.”

She noted that the  slow recovery rate has seen the ministry having an outstanding revenue amounting to $192 million between 2017 and 2018.

Last year alone, the ministry failed to collect $186 million which adds to the $11 million of the previous year 2017 resulting to this huge $192 million.

“An examination of Outstanding revenue Return revealed an outstanding amount of $192 462 309 as at December 31, 2018. This represents a huge increase of $185 506 175 (1 693%) from previous year’s outstanding revenue figure of $10 956 134.”

“I am concerned about the huge outstanding debt and slow recovery rate,” she said.

The government is risking a potential loss as the outstanding revenue may end up being irrecoverable as bad debtors or employees may leave jobs before settling their debts.

 “Due to failure to collect revenue from debtors, the amounts outstanding may end up being irrecoverable as bad debts or employees may leave employments before settling their debts,” she said.

The lack of speed  in collecting outstanding  revenue may also result in the Ministry retrenching workers due to financial incapacitation.

 Lack of funds has resulted in the ministry failing to execute its outreach programs and interventions like on site visits of collapsed mines.

After the Cricket Mine disaster in Battlefields, ministry of mines officials promised to visit the site and rectify anomalies through regularizing operations but lack of resources was the major impediment.

According to the ministry of mines, Zimbabwe plans to grow mineral revenue from a projected $4,2 billion this year to $12 Billion by 2023 hence the target cannot be reached when revenue collection is slow.