COVID19News

MPs call on govt to liberalise transport sector

Parliamentarians have called on the government to liberalise the transport sector and repeal the provisions of the Covid-19 regulations that gave a monopoly to the Zimbabwe Passenger Company (ZUPCO) to accommodate the reopening of schools for examinations later this month.

Zupco buses are still the only mode of public transport allowed to ferry passengers while private players and smaller taxis remain banned, a situation that has seen some passengers stranded with no transport to and from work. 

With Schools set to reopen this month for ZIMSEC examination classes,  there have been concerns with the availability of reliable transport.

Speaking in Parliament, MP Colleta Mutambisi queried if the government has put measures to ensure students have adequate transport.

Harare East MP Tendai Biti said there is a need to liberalise the transport sector.

“Is it not a solution to simply liberalise transport service in Zimbabwe and repeal the provisions of the Covid-19 regulations that give a monopoly to ZUPCO for providing transport in Zimbabwe,” said Biti.

“Let us go back to liberalisation instead of giving a monopoly to a service provider who is incapable of servicing our people.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira said the government is confident with the measures put in place and will be able to ferry examinations between September and November.

“Government is aware that the availability of transport is constricted. To this end, the Government has decided to increase the amount of fuel that is given to ZUPCO from a current 500 000 to 700 000 litre.

“This should be able to increase the number of vehicles on the road that will facilitate the transportation of our pupils, students and teachers,” said Professor Murwira.

He said the operation of ZUPCO and the incorporation of other transport providers within the ZUPCO franchise enabled the government to control transportation for the sole purpose of safeguarding lives.

“If we talk about ZUPCO without taking into context the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be able to interpret this whole thing correctly.

“It is important to note that the ZUPCO that we are talking about is just a coordinating mechanism. There are a lot of private players that are having their vehicles being managed under the ZUPCO franchise,” said Professor Murwira.

“There is no monopoly of ZUPCO, but just coordination by ZUPCO, of the national transportation system so that we can have a predictable way of preventing to the best our ability the spread of Covid-19.”

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