Tsvangirai blasts parastatals over rates

coal_mine(Pictured: One of ZESAs thermal power stations that regularly break down forcing consumers to go for days without electricity )

BULAWAYO — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for sweeping changes in the management of government parastatals that he accused of inefficiency and charging exorbitant tariffs and prices for shoddy services and goods.

Addressing residents at Lupane business centre last weekend Tsvangirai, who was touring Tsholotsho and Lupane districts to assess the food situation, said there was need for the government owned companies to be restructured saying some of them were serving the interest of only a few individuals.

Look at ZESA they have five different entities and several unjustifiable overheads which are unnecessary, said Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai said the government would put in place a team to review the performance of parastatals and the prices they charged for goods and services to ensure consumers are not made to pay for poor the incompetence of the state firms.

He said: We are aware of the cost push factors such as the water and electricity tariffs. Some of the tariffs being charged are unreasonable. At my home, I have a borehole but I got a US$500 bill so instead of just looking at resource mobilisation we will also looking at the cost structure.

The state firms that in many cases are headed by relatives of top politicians have regularly made losses and the International Monetary Fund has urged the government, which has to regularly bail out the parastatals, to sell them away and save cash.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister also announced that the government would form a resource mobilisation committee which would ensure that there is money to pay civil servants.

Civil servants embarked on nationwide strike last week to press for more pay and better working conditions.

The civil servants are also demanding that the embattled coalition government reduce electricity and mobile phone tariffs that they say are well beyond what consumers in neighbouring countries pay.

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