Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) is making great strides under the International Cricket Council controlled funding after settling its loans, which were a major stumbling block to its operations.
So grave was the problem of ZC liabilities that Zimbabwe’s Full Membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC) was under threat if no solution was found.
ZC has finally paid off the ICC loan of US$3 million and the $10 million local bank loans that were housed under the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (Zamco) in 2017.
The non-performing loans with CBZ, Metbank, Ecobank and NMB were warehoused under Zamco in 2017 after ZC got a 30 percent discount.
According to ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, the controlled release of funds from the ICC was meant to address the issue of loans, settle legacy debts and put in place systems to control expenditure, primarily the wage bill.
ZC had a deadline of December 2020 to extinguish the loans.
With these liabilities now cleared ahead of schedule, ZC is now on course to come off ICC’s controlled funding.
ZC is only left with a debt of $1 million, which is in the process of being verified by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Mukuhlani indicated that the plan is to pay off the remaining arrears in the third quarter of this year.
“The controlled funding that we are on from the ICC was supposed to address three key issues; the legacy loans, the creditors and the systems. So the loans have been paid. The creditors we will finish in the third quarter of this year and finally we want to put a robust system that ensures that there is proper financial management at ZC and we are on course,” Mukuhlani said.
As soon as ZC can demonstrate that it has addressed the issues that led to the introduction of the monitored financial support, the matter will be brought before the ICC board for determination.
Should the game’s highest decision makers be satisfied that Zimbabwe is now on firm footing, ZC will start receiving funds twice a year from the ICC.
“Once we have completed and fully satisfied these three conditions, controlled funding then falls away because it has served its purpose. It’s up to the ICC board, it’s not a Zimbabwe Cricket decision that we make alone. When controlled funding falls away, we go back to the normal system where we get money biannually from the ICC, in January and July,” he said.
The ZC boss is grateful to fellow ICC member countries for giving Zimbabwe a chance to sort out its financial mess, which threatened the country’s Full Member status.
Mukuhlani is also grateful to efforts of the Government, with former Minister of Sport Makhosini Hlongwane having been instrumental in finding a solution to ZC’s financial quagmire.
“All the member countries on the ICC board gave us a chance. In 2015 Zimbabwe was destined to lose its Full Membership and its Test status mainly because of our financial status. We did not meet the membership criteria for the ICC. We are grateful to all the members who sit on the board who gave us a chance. They gave us conditions which we met, we proved to be able to work with a certain budget and here we are, we have fulfilled what we needed to do,” said Mukuhlani.
The ZC board held a video conference meeting on May 24 in which board members were pleased that the loans were no longer appearing on the association’s books.
The financial report must now be ratified by delegates at the annual general meeting on June 23.
Once that happens, the financials will be sent to the Sports and Recreation Commission and ICC. — @Mdawini_29