Mutare — Government has been regarded as the biggest customer of new vehicles bought in Zimbabwe during the period between 2019 and 2020, NewZimbabwe.com can reveal.
According to a survey conducted by the Motor Industry based on the monthly ITV reports, government constituted 48% of new vehicles that were bought in the country between the period between 2019-2020.
As a result, for the first Zimbabwe’s government registered a very sharp increase in it’s spending on new rides since 2011.
Recently, there was outrage after President Mnangagwa handed over 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles to leaders of non-mainstream political parties which participated in the 2018 presidential elections.
In the run up to the 2018 presidential elections Mnangagwa also doled out new top of the range vehicles to Zanu PF youth League, Women’s league and War veterans.
He also handed over top of the range new vehicles to all Chiefs dotted around the country.
The dolling out of expensive vehicles has been described by critics as as a highly misplaced priority since the nation has got more urgent and pressing economic challenges to solve.
The Motor Industry tracked who was buying new cars in the southern African nation from 2011 up until 2020.
Data was collected based on four datasets which includes Individuals/ Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Fleet, United Nations (UN)/ Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the government.
A fleet sale is effectively a corporate buyer or block purchaser including forex earners like mining companies and banks who replace vehicles in medium to large batches.
The report indicates that in the period between 2011 to 2012, government was among the least customers based on new vehicles that were bought.
During that same period, Fleet category was the biggest customer as it constituted 52% of new cars that were bought, followed by Indv/ SME 24%, GOVT 14% and UN/NGO trailing at 9%.
In the period 2016 to 2017 Fleet category remained the biggest customer constituting 60% of new cars bought whilst followed by Indiv/SME 20%, GOVT 15% and UN/NGO 5% respectively.
Surprisingly, in 2019 to 2020 there was a remarkable change as the government became the biggest customer constituting 48% of new vehicles bought whilst followed by fleet 34%, Indivi/SME 12%, and UN/NGO 5% respectively.
The survey based on the Monthly ITV Reports on Vehicles sold, show that during Mnangagwa’s so called “new dispensation”, Government’s spending on new vehicles significantly shoots up, resulting in it toping the charts as a biggest customer.
Individual, SME and fleet sales have dropped year on year due to economic conditions and the stipulation that duties be paid in forex.
Many Zimbabweans have less disposable income and have seen their purchasing power in greenbacks being reduced.
Other customers like individuals, SMEs and forex earners like mines have reduced their spending on new vehicles and motor experts have attributed the drop to economic conditions.
NewZimbabwe.com reached out to a renowned marketer with one of the best brands in the country for data interpretation of customer breakdown of vehicle sales in the last 10 years.
The top marketer only accepted to comment on condition of anonymity saying the information is sensitive as it must remain between the customer and supplier.
“The statistics are quite sensitive as they seem to show an increase in spending from a government point of view. This is not necessarily the case, the more that other sectors such as private and fleet have dropped off, the other portion seems to increase.
“We do a lot of business with various government agencies and and it will not be proper to see an article claiming government is spending large sums on new vehicles. That is not the case,” the top boss with one of the best motor brands in the country told NewZimbabwe.com.
The prominent marketer said a sharp rise in government spending on vehicles has got a twofold effect.
“The steady decline of other segments will automatically increase the ratio of the steady segment.
“Individual, SME and fleet sales have dropped mainly because of the requirement that duties be paid in forex. The citizens’ buying power has dwindled. In addition it is also a classification issue.
“If a sale does not fall into fleet, or individual or NGO, it may be classified as government even though it is either quasi government or parastatal,” said the top marketer noting that district councils and many ministries have been investing in ambulances in order to increase their fleet in the wake of Covid-19.
Efforts to seek an official comment from the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe (MIAZ) were fruitless as its director Sarudzai Masoka requested that questions be emailed on her address.
However, she could not reply to the questions emailed to her by NewZimbabwe.com before the time of going to print.