Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) board says it undertook a staff rationalisation programme to right size the organisation in order to establish an efficient and lean operational structure.
Last week, the tourism authority laid off 33 workers while two had their contracts not renewed and one opted to resign bringing the total number of workers who left the organisation to 36.
In a statement, the ZTA board said the rationalisation programme was routine.
“ZTA advises that it undertook a staff rationalisation programme whose aim is to right size the organisation in order to establish an efficient, effective and lean operational team,” said the board.
It said this was in line with corporate governance as legislated, and the exercise was also a direct result of the need for the organisation to be effective, efficient and lean.
“Over the past three to four years, the authority’s current liabilities could not match its current assets resulting in the organisation seriously failing to achieve its mandate,” said the ZTA board.
In this regard and within the context of the national Transitional Stabilisation Plan, ZTA has been refocusing its efforts.
The tourism authority’s board concluded that a skills audit exercise be conducted with the aim of rationalising operations and performance.
“Results of the audit, which was conducted by an independent consultant, informed the board to review the authority’s corporate strategy and resolved to restructure the organisation.”
The board consulted and engaged extensively with various stakeholders, who included the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Retrenchment Board, the ZTA workers committee as well as independent legal advisors.
“It should further be noted that the total revenue to staff costs ratio has been high, meaning that a significant percentage of the revenue generated was going towards salaries and allowances.
“This scenario did not provide a safe financial space for the authority to embark on developmental projects, investments and promotion of the destination.
“The authority’s liabilities both internationally and domestically have tarnished the image of the organisation,” said the ZTA board.
In this vein, it has met and reviewed the authority’s corporate strategy and then resolved to restructure the organisation.
The board then appointed an independent consultant to analyse and review both the strategy and the structure of the organisation vis-a-vis the mandate and came up with recommendations, which it then adopted.
Among others, the tourism authority has the mandate to promote Zimbabwe as a destination for tourists in overseas, regional and domestic markets, as well as fostering high standards in the sector through the establishment of standards, training and human resources development. — @okazunga