Hands off PSMAS, govt told


AFTER a week of turmoil, medical insurer Premier Service Medical Aid Society’s subsidiary, Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI), has managed to pay its doctors.


PSMI was forced to scale down operations to the barest minimum after medical and other essential staff embarked on a strike demanding salaries that had not been paid for five months.

But in the midst of struggles to find money to pay workers, PSMAS’s biggest debtor – the government – has now threatened to take over management of the cash-rich entity. In a statement this week, PSMI said an agreement had since been reached with the striking staffers and normal service had resumed.

“We have made plans to ensure that such business disruptions will not happen again in future. PSMI remains a viable business entity, retaining pole position in the private healthcare service sector in Zimbabwe and we intend to maintain that position,” the PSMAS investment arm said, expressing gratitude for “support during difficult times”.

However, the silver lining has been sullied by State media reports that government was now mulling taking over the day-to-day running of the group, whose membership of over 800 000 is made up of mainly civil servants, reportedly “to restore viability and ensure members benefit optimally”.

But Apex Council chairperson, Richard Gundane said the government would face resistance.


“We have not been informed and normally for such drastic policy decisions we are consulted. We will, I believe, be consulted and when that time comes, they (government) will hear our side regarding the issue. We are happy with the current arrangement that has served us well. There is no reason as far as we are concerned to change it,” he said.

The proposal is reportedly being fronted by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira.

Mupfumira and her Health counterpart, David Parirenyatwa have had frosty relations with the Jeremiah Bvirindi-led PSMAS board, amid reports she wanted to dissolve it, although insiders argue she has no locus standi to do so.

A senior official at PSMAS, who refused to be named, said the government wanted access to cash, as well as power, but was “going to inadvertently run the institution into the ground”.

“Look at all other parastatals, the government is not known for its financial prudence. They have many examples of profitable institutions that they have run aground. It is up to the membership to fight this kind of power-mongering,” NewsDay heard.
Parirenyatwa was allegedly paid over $100 000 in capitation fees, way above what he was owed.

Parirenyatwa and Mupfumira were not available for comment yesterday.


  1. true ,the real shareholders are the members with government’s role being contractual by way of medical subscriptions on behalf of their employees in the civil service but this does not make the government a shareholder but a mere stakeholder so true hands off.

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