KWEKWE — Finance minister Tendai Biti has attributed most parastatals’ poor performance to attitude problems and bad management systems applied by those at the helm of the ailing institutions.
Addressing Kwekwe residents at a recent 2012 national Budget consultative meeting, Biti said no amount of capital injection would revive parastatals like Air Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) without a major paradigm shift in management systems.
“At some of our parastatals, it’s not a money problem, but a management problem,” Biti said.
“We have tried to come up with a law called the Public Finance Management Act, but it’s not enough. Some of the managers are so embedded in the old stereotype kind of management they believe if you are a CEO of a parastatal you are a king and you get yourself a fully air-conditioned office on the fourth floor with expensive furniture which cannot be found in the parent minister’s office,” said Biti.
Biti said the government should unbundle most unproductive parastatals and concentrate on strategic ones.
“They are certain parastatals which I will be hard pressed to justify why the government should keep them.
Some are just commercial entities like Air Zimbabwe, which is making loses of $200 million every month.
We just need a strategic partner to run the airline. The same applies to the Cold Storage Commission. Private commerce can deal with that, and even the NRZ,” said Biti.
The minister dismissed fears the nation could be held at ransom by private investors, saying there was no way an investor could come to Zimbabwe and run away with railway tracks or the airport after upgrading its infrastructure to world class standards.