Government should immediately dissolve Zambia Railways Board of directors who are to be paid K7 million allowances per sitting and instead appoint individuals who can serve on the board with the interests of the nation without a high level of remuneration.
Earlier, the board, chaired by Mark Chona, former chairman of the defunct and discredited taskforce on corruption was reported to have demanded K500 million in allowances which the company chief executive Clive Chirwa had rejected resulting in his reported suspension.
National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo Jr said the dissolution of the board which intends to extract K7 million as sitting allowance per meeting was long overdue. Board members he said should serve the nation as the Eurobond money should be invested in the re-establishment of company operations.
Minister of Works and Supply Christopher Yaluma yesterday confirmed that Board Members were to be paid K7 million (Kr 7000) per sitting instead of the K500 million (Kr50000)
Mr Chipimo said the issue is not whether the allowances were exorbitant, but that service to the nation should be paramount instead of seeking to gain from a company that has not made money of its own.
“Calling for K7 million pay per sitting per board member is exorbitant for a company in the situation of Zambia Railways, but more so for a company that has not made any money for itself as it was the situation. Theirs should be service to the people of Zambia, and not to take out of it,” he said.He explained that the US$120 million provided to Zambia Railways might seem like a lot of money but for an organisation like the railway company, it was very little and would not go very far in getting it to function in the manner that is envisaged.
“Furthermore, it is a loan provided to the country, and which has to be paid back with interest. It is not money for ‘eating,’” he said.
He said the financial status of the company dictates prudence in the use of very limited resources.
“As there are 11 board members it would mean that at each meeting the institution would part with no less than K77 million. Those who may wish to compare Zambia Railways with other parastatals or the private sector, should understand that there is no basis for comparison because of the situation that company was coming out of,” he charged.
He urged government to make radical changes to the board and find the kind of people who were ready to make a sacrifice and give back to the country through a dedicated service as every coin ZR saved would help put the institution onto the road to recovery.
The ZR board has requested for a K7million sitting allowance for every board meeting called for the revamping of the railways service company operations.