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Agribank restructuring on

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The restructuring exercise at Agribank, where the government plans to offload its 49% of shareholding to private investors, has begun.

Last week the government through the State Procurement Board begun scouting for legal and financial advisors to undertake the process.

Agribank is among 10 parastatals the government earmarked for privatisation in 2010.

According to the Government Gazette of March 16: “. . . bidders should exclude banking institutions operating in Zimbabwe or having interest in banking institutions operating in Zimbabwe”.

The submissions are expected to reach the State Procurement Board by April 17.

A fortnight ago State Enterprise Regulatory Authority executive director Edgar Nyoni told Parliament the process to look for investors was expected to commence soon.

“We are supposed to look for investors and farmer organisations that can take up the 49% stake in the bank,” he said.

“We expect the process to take at least six months as it depends on the time it takes for us to get the advisors.”

Last year Finance minister Tendai Biti and his State Enterprises and Parastatals counterpart Gorden Moyo expressed concern at the slow pace of restructuring of entities that continue to drain the fiscus.

“Despite a number of pronouncements to restructure public enterprises, very little progress is being made in this regard,” Biti said.

“Furthermore the inefficiency of these parastatals is also compromising overall economic performance due to the shortcomings associated with underperformance in service delivery.”

Moyo said delays in the restructuring of parastatals were caused by bureaucracy in government.

Parastatals have failed to attract foreign investors since 2010 due to poor corporate governance issues and debt overhang some of them have.

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