Parastatals unmarketable: Gorden Moyo

The parastatals restructuring exercise is unlikely to take off largely due to the fact that most of them have become unattractive and unmarketable.

People are fed up with parastatals continuously milking the government through underperforming.
People are fed up with parastatals continuously milking the government through underperforming.

This is blamed on high corruption and loss of qualified staff. Government had initially set December last as the deadline for the first phase of the restructuring exercise with at least 10 organisations targeted, before pushing the deadline to later this year.

State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister Gorden Moyo said his ministry’s attempts to revive the parastatals were being frustrated by the current state of these companies. “There are a number of issues that are stalling the whole process.

Chief among these is the huge debt which they incurred. They have become unattractive, investors would never invest in any loss-making enterprise,” said Moyo.

He said government was working at clearing the debts of some of the parastatals to enable them to start operating on a clean slate.

“Already government has warehoused Air Zimbabwe’s debt in order to create some form of appetite among investors,” he said.

Zimbabwe has around 78 state enterprises. Ten have been marked for restructuring and possible privatisation: ZiscoSteel, Noczim, Agribank, Zimbabwe Power Company, Grain Marketing Board, Cold Storage Company, Air Zimbabwe, NRZ, TelOne and NetOne.

Already 53,4 percent shareholding in ZiscoSteel has been sold to Mauritian firm Essar Africa Holdings, which is expected to recapitalise the steelmaker.

Moyo said he was also drawing up an inter-parastatals debt strategy to allow the companies to clear their debts to each other by swapping services.

He said he was fully aware of the reservations among ordinary Zimbabweans on the overall performance of parastatals but his ministry was trying by all means to see to it that the companies contributed to the country’s development rather than continuously milking it through underperforming.

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