Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe government stands ready to assist struggling state enterprises and parastatals to ensure that they play their part in efforts to revive the economy, Acting President General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) said on Monday.
He was speaking at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport after receiving a 300 seater Boeing 777 aircraft acquired from Malaysia by the government for the national airline, Air Zimbabwe.
Acting President Chiwenga said viable state enterprises and parastatals were a key enabler to economic transformation.
“As you may all recall state enterprises and parastatals used to contribute around 40 percent of our country’s Gross Domestic Product. Unfortunately, most if not all of these public entities have suffered from a host of challenges including the economic decline caused by illegal sanctions imposed upon us by determined and unashamed orchestrators of under development in third world countries.
“These unforgiving sanctions have rendered most of the equipment in the aviation industry unserviceable due to shortages of spare parts and other ancillary equipment which should be imported from external suppliers,” he said.
“Receipt of this B-777 aircraft is a clear testimony that we are taking concrete steps to capacitate our national airline so that it plays its role in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and facilitating international trade and tourism. This initiative is therefore part of our efforts towards the realisation of our vision 2030 as informed by the economic blueprint the Transitional Stabilisation Programme,” he said.
Acting President Chiwenga said the plane came at an opportune time when the country sought to increase the amount of trade and business in line with the mantra Zimbabwe is open for business.
As such, he said, a reliable airline was vital and that was why the government wanted to ensure that Air Zimbabwe was restored to full functionality.
He said the tourism industry also stood to benefit from a fully functional national airline.
“The revival of Air Zimbabwe cannot be over emphasised. As Government we remain ready to support the airline where necessary,” he said.
“I am also aware that there are other players who have shown interest in partnering the national airline and we welcome them all on board, such types of engagement provide traction in our efforts to recapitalise the national airline to become a regional and international competitor of note.”
Speaking at the same event, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said the aircraft was in “very good condition.”
“We are optimistic that this equipment will go a long way in unlocking value in our aviation industry and we are proud of this gesture as it demonstrates government’s commitment to reviving the national airline, Air Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Our national airline’s viability has been hamstrung due to the operation of aged and depleted fleet of aircraft thus the process towards the revival of our airline entails a process of re-equipping and this is top most on our priorities as a Ministry as witnessed by the delivery of the first of two B-777 aircraft today.”
“The second aircraft is in the final stages of maintenance to ensure that it is air worthy and ready to be deployed to Harare shortly.”
Matiza added; “Government will still need to give support to air Zimbabwe to acquire a smaller regional aircraft, this will help the airline to rebuild its national and regional network which will act as a springboard to launch international routes.”