Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Patrick Chinamasa has promised members of parliament (MPs) free cars. Chinamasa promised the legislators that he was going to change the Parliamentary Car Scheme from operating on a loan basis so that the MPs do not have to pay for the cars. In addition to the free cars, Chinamasa promised the MPs that they will also receive duty-free certificates which will allow them to import cars for themselves, although he stressed that the duty-free certificate will only be issued after two years. Unsurprisingly, the legislators greeted this news with jubilation.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Chinamasa said:
With respect to Parliament budget, I have had to personally look into those issues and I want to give these guarantees. Firstly, there are two aspects which are the welfare of MPs and the need for resources to discharge their mandate. With respect to the welfare of MPs, I have committed myself and I want to repeat that when we started the Parliamentary Car Scheme, it was on a loan basis. I have since converted it to be a free car scheme, you will not be required to pay for that car.
I would like to carry that scheme to the next Parliament. We want to assure each Member of Parliament a free car.
However, there were also considerations about those vehicles, especially from rural constituencies that they normally do not last beyond two years.
For that, the only consideration is that we can allow a duty-free certificate for Members of Parliament to buy for themselves but that will be done in the third year of MPs life of Parliament. We agreed that those who suffer damage through accidents will be allowed free duty to replace the car that they had bought.
I do know as a Member of Parliament myself what it means to run a constituency, especially with respect to motor vehicles. A motor vehicle is the key issue and given our state of the roads, generally, their durability does not take us very far. So, it is a matter that I understand and I will do so clearly before Parliament dissolves.