Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation has tentatively given itself a month to start making outstanding payments to the 2014 African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games suppliers and contractors.
The ministry, however, said the fulfilment of that undertaking was heavily dependent on Treasury releasing funds towards extinguishing that debt, which has left some Bulawayo-based companies in serious financial doldrums, while a contractor suffered a stroke after his properties were attached for failing to service loans he took ahead of the 2014 contract.
“We are working on it; it’s at the top of our priority list, but obviously there are processes in place. We have to verify a few things and once that is done, people will start receiving their money,” said Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Raymond Kazembe.
“At the moment there is some verification process taking place and that process is almost complete. Once it’s complete, we will disburse funds. We don’t want to commit ourselves as such, but as a ministry we had given ourselves a month to start payments, but it also depends on Treasury,” said Kazembe.
A representative of the suppliers and contractors said they were hopeful the Government will finally pay them their dues.
“Look, if the government could release funds for MPs’ sitting allowances, we believe they can also do the same for us, especially on the basis that we are critical to the resuscitation of the country’s economy through small scale job creation. As a result of this non-payment, our companies have shed staff, while others closed, but we know that once we are liquid, we will be able to help the new dispensation realise its promise of creating jobs for the people,” said the representative.
The Government is believed to owe the suppliers and contractors around $1.5 million. — @skhumoyo2000