Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance George Guvamatanga says that government has done its homework in reducing ZUPCO Bus fares to a shock minimum 50 cents for a trip.
Speaking to State Media on Tuesday, Guvamatanga said the duty on fuel, though reduced, will be used to subsidise the public transporter.
The subsidy will see Zupco reduce its fares by half from $1 to 50 cents for distance below 20 kilometres and from $1,50 to 75 cents from distances between 20 and 30 kilometres. The next 10 kilometres will cost $1 in bus fare from the previous $2.
The reduction, Guvamatanga said, was necessitated by the need to cushion the travelling public that have been exposed to unfair pricing by the private transporters.
“We also wanted to put money back in the pockets of people and this will be done through savings on transport costs,” he said.
Guvamatanga allayed fears that the Zupco subsidies are not sustainable saying the move was well calculated and will not burden the country’s purse.
“We know exactly how much this is going to cost us, we have done some mathematics, and we have factored in this subsidy,” he quipped.
“A subsidy if its quantified, budgeted for and targeted, it’s a good subsidy. Safety nets by their nature are subsidies because you want to protect the more vulnerable members of the society,” said Mr Guvamatanga.
At least 15 cents (5 cents from diesel and 10 cents from petrol) in fuel levies per litre will go towards subsidising the public transport system, he said.
Government has announced plans to revive Zupco and will import thousands of conversional buses to be distributed among the company’s operating divisions.