The President’s Office has for the first time in the history of Zimbabwe released invoices indicating the proof of costs incurred for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s trip to China last week, putting closure to some media reports that the trip had gobbled more than US$2 million.
Speaking to ZBC News yesterday, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba revealed that government paid US$1.3 million to hire a private jet for President Mnangagwa’s trip, contrary to some media reports which had speculated that the trip had cost US$2.3 million.
President Mnangagwa has been preaching the gospel of a transparent administration and in line with new thrust, Mr Charamba showed journalists receipts and invoices of the amount paid to Comlux by government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The invoices showed a total of US$1,396,000 was paid to Comlux.
Mr Charamba said hiring national flag carrier Air Zimbabwe would have resulted in the President travelling earlier as it meant the delegation was supposed to do a stop-over in Singapore.
He said hiring a private plane was even cheaper as Air Zimbabwe and another airline approached by government had quoted them over US$2 million and slightly below US$2 million respectively.
“The first plane which we got would cost us an upward of US$2 million. Air Zimbabwe also gave us a quote of slightly below US$2 million, but which was still very high,” said Mr Charamba.
The Presidential spokesperson has challenged the nation to look at the cost benefit analysis of the President’s trip to China, saying the Asian giant is the world’s second largest economy after the US, hence it is only prudent to engage such an economy and the benefits will be immense.