By Margaret Kamba

Finance Ministry's Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga says aligning of government departments with the Ministry of Finance is key to early implementation of programmes.

This he said during an interview with the ZBC during which he was sharing his first hand experience with covid19 after testing positive.

"The New Minister of Health, the Honourable Vice President Constantine Chiwenga called and said I want to introduce you guys. It was supposed to be an introduction, we ended up having a one hour three minutes conversation," he said.

"For one hour three minutes the Vice President listened to our conversation. But you see what I actually like is the alignment. Its very important between Ministries and Department agencies and Treasury to be aligned because when there is no alignment then implementation becomes a problem. There are always delays in implementation."

Guvamatanga also noted that his experience gave him an opportunity to do a cost benefit analysis of what was acquired for the addressing the pandemic as opposed to what is needed on the ground.

"I was having the conversation about the cost of PPEs saying. I studied it when I was in hospital, to say why is every government Ministry procuring their own PPEs. Why cant we have as government maybe one single source and benefit from economies of scale. And the other question is why are we still paying the same price that we were paying in March," Guvamatanga said.

"How do we manage sensitive issues? Do you sit and watch and say we will see how it will turn out? Or if you actually believe that something is actually wrong at that point, you highlight that this is wrong and I think it has to be corrected."

He lamented the use of social media which he said resulted in bad decisions being made.

"One of our role and responsibility as Treasury is to avoid and stop what is called wasteful expenditure.
And I have to admit that there was a lot of wasteful expenditure in the manner in which we spent because there were things that we were told by certain protocols that we should spend money on, that from my experience they were there but not of much use," he said.

"There was so much noise on social media about ventilators. I was in hospital and all I needed was just oxygen. I didn't need a ventilator. And there was a ventilator next to me and it's a sophisticated piece of equipment actually. But probably for the price of one ventilator maybe you would buy 70, 80 or 100 oxygen. And all I needed was oxygen."

Advising those with covid19, Guvamatanga said it crucial for them to know that it "is not a death sentence. You can recover. But when you see the symptoms seek early intervention."

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