Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, Paddy Zhanda, has blasted underperforming parastatals which he described as a drain in the fiscus.
Zhanda made the remarks this week while debating the Mid-Term Budget Review statement that was presented by Finance minister Tendai Biti last week in the House of Assembly.
“It is common knowledge that we are bad managers of State assets and we have an endless list of bad management in these institutions,” said Zhanda.
“For example, Noczim is building new service stations when in fact there are many of those service stations in the country which are underutilised and one really wonders if this country is short of service stations or fuel,” he said.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, Webber Chinyadza, also buttressed Zhanda’s views and said the government should dispose of some of the loss-making parastatals like Zesa, Noczim, NRZ and others.
But, Zvishavane MP Obert Matshalaga said the government should not expect those parastatals to perform when it was guilty of failing to pay debts it owed to those institutions.
“Government owes parastatals, for example, TelOne is owed $53 million and how do we expect it to survive?” she asked.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzumure said there was a lot of wrong in the manner the government was recruiting heads of parastatals.
“There has been a lot of mismanagement at the NRZ and right now there is no single electric cable along the Harare – Dabuka railway line.
Management of parastatals should be based on competence, but I do not think that is how we have been recruiting people to head these,” said Madzimure.
Responding to their concerns, Biti said the unfortunate part about Zimbabwe was that it was long on formulating policy documents, but short on implementation.
He said the solutions to some of these parastatals were not privatisation, but rationalisation.
“There must be a rationalisation package on some of these parastatals because Agribank is making losses of $6 000 per month, ZABG loses $100 000 per month, and there are parastatals like GMB that cannot be privatised because the state has a duty for strategic grain.
“POSB is one of the assets where you can bring in a partner to rationalise its value,” Biti said.