FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday told Parliament that government will now be careful in lending money to non-performing State-owned enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) in order to save.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The Treasury chief was addressing the National Assembly on the third report of the public accounts committee regarding the findings by the Auditor-General in the 2014 appropriation accounts.
The committee had recommended that the government and Treasury in particular cease spoon-feeding non-performing State entities.
“Government will in future carry out due diligence in lending funds to SEPs. However, there are institutions like the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Hwange Colliery and Air Zimbabwe that are strategic in nature and there are moments when we cannot avoid lending them money especially if they are in difficulties,” Chinamasa said.
He told legislators that he was working on improving the performance of SEPs and local authorities through the Corporate Governance Bill, which is yet to be crafted. The Finance minister lashed out at SEPs’ failure to submit audited reports on time.
On senior government officials, who received equipment from Farmers’ World, Chinamasa said he would adhere to recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the debts be recovered.
“I agree with the committee that public resources cannot be used to meet obligations of a private matter.
Considerable efforts have been made into chasing the debtors. Treasury has written to the ministry of Agriculture to institute debt recovery,” he said.
On the recommendation by the committee that the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) be disbanded, Chinamasa said he would not do that.
“Government has no intention of dissolving IDBZ because we have, in fact, capitalised the bank and its financial performance is expected to improve. We hired a former deputy of the African Development Bank to head this institution,” he said.
The PAC, led by Mufakose MP, Paurina Mpariwa, had raised a red flag on IDBZ for failing to recover loans amounting to $70,4 million from parastatals dating back to 2010.
Some of the debtors included NRZ ($5 million), Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe ($18,1 million), Zinwa ($7 million), Zinara ($10,3 million) and the Registrar-General’s Office (10,3 million).
Chinamasa told Parliament he would meet with institutions like Zinara that have the capacity to pay to encourage them to do so.