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THE WORRYING UNDERTONES

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In politics, they say the actions of the leadership during the first 100 days in office set the tone for what the public can expect of it.


Pro-poor policy statements have characterised the new Cabinet, given the positive signals coming from its statements over the past few weeks.
The ministers endeared themselves to the public even further in Parliament yesterday, by raising pertinent concerns around the non-payment of suppliers by government while these companies are still expected to comply with tax obligations and the investor unfriendly taxes, among other things.


The real test though will always be how Cabinet deals with the numerous tests that are beginning to emerge.
The case of the huge figures that make up the salary bill for our parastatal bosses gives good reason to revisit the need to trim the more than 45 State-funded enterprises. Do we really need the whole lot when logic dictates that some of them could be more efficient operating as a department?


During his tenure, the former Finance minister raised the need to reduce these entities, but - for reasons best known to him – never got round to acting on it. This task now rests with his successor and there could be no better time to act than now.


Placing a freeze on hiring cars, banning external travel for municipalities, stopping government meetings in hotels will no doubt go a long way in closing the leakages but there are indications that not everybody in government will adhere to these new directives.


The decision by the CTA to seek tenders for hiring of vehicles flies in the face of the new government policy statement. It simply opens the door to defiance and should not be approved. We are also seeing municipalities appointing consultants to carry out valuation of properties for purposes of increasing rates, much against the PM’s moratorium on hiking of utility tariffs until further notice.


If the PM and his team are to be taken seriously, he should nip any acts that seek to sabotage his efforts in the bud by sending a strong message that would enforce compliance.

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Should ex-politicians be paid their gratuity before Christmas?