Bloated govt structures cripple economy: AMH exec

TOP-HEAVY management structures had made Zimbabwe’s economy more uncompetitive as they pushed up the cost of doing business, Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) board member, Nyasha Zhou, has said.

Business Reporter

Addressing delegates at an AMH Conversations indaba in Bulawayo last week, Zhou said Zimbabwe as a country was struggling to grow economically due to top-heavy management structures which made labour costs shoot through the roof.

“The rates are too high in this country; I am a scholar on business models for competitiveness. Do you know that our business model in Zimbabwe of all from government to private is structured around the British South Africa Police (BSAP)? It is exactly as the police force,” Zhou said.

“There are commanders, commissioner-generals, three deputies and another deputy general because the first company in this country was the BSAP which was registered and incorporated in UK to protect the Pioneer Column. That’s where the police came from; it was a company to offer security.”

Zhou added: “It was the first commercial enterprise and everybody has followed it. There is a managing director with a secretary, a deputy managing director, another one and another one….and there are already 20 people before they even produce anything and then we are uncompetitive and each one of those have cars that are driven to work and they are parked.”

He said this was the reason why the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe was too high, urging business to correct the anomaly.

“You know what happens; you pile up because there is already a cost. Rates have cost us money, water has cost money, and suddenly you have ballooned and you are just paying each other for inefficiency,” Zhou said.

Zimbabwe has perennially experienced huge budget deficits, most of which have arisen from recurrent expenditure emanating from lack of fiscal decency. This has resulted in increased domestic borrowing by government, thereby crowding out the productive sectors from the money market.

Last year, the budget deficit ballooned to $1,7 billion from $400 million the previous year, creating a major fiscal crisis for the broke government.

Zhou urged institutions of higher learning to research on organic beef as it was in demand internationally.


AMH Conversations is a platform that brings together major players for insightful and nationbuilding discussions. AMH are the publishers of NewsDay, The Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard and Southern Eye.

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17 Comments

  1. Mgobhozi Wezintabeni

    Offside Zhou.The company which was granted the Charter to govern this territory was the British South Africa Company.The company created the British South Africa Company’s Police which provided security for the company as well as the newly established territory of Southern Rhodesia.The name “company” was dropped from the force after the Charter to govern the territory expired and when it became a self governing colony.The force’s name was retained for that historical significance and role it played during the acquisition of the territory.

    1. Am sure your correction is unwarranted as it is not the core of the issue. Why cant you focus on the issue at hand which is very pertinent to Zim economy than major on peripheral issues

    2. Mgobhozi Wezintabeni am sure you should have realised that this is not a story telling issue. Whether it was the BSAC or BSAP preceding the other or vice-versa is not material here hence useless. What’s important is the substance of what Zhou said which is an all time valid point that all Zimbabwean public and corporate governance structures are modeled along BSAP whether the latter preceded the BSAC or not

  2. GOOD OBSERVATION.TOP HEAVY STRUCTURE HAVE LED TO THE COLLAPSE OF MANY COMPANIES IN ZIMBABWE AND THE MANAGEMENT OF THOSE COMPANIES WERE NOT PREPARED TO RESTRUCTURE TO SAVE THOSE COMPANIES FROM LIQUIDATION BECAUSE OF SELF INTERESTS.

  3. Fair analysis.

  4. Mgobhozi Wezintabeni

    Zhou should not apportion blame for all the decay on the basis of her conceived historical inaccuracies.She should be aware that in 1980 when Mugabe took over,the country’s cabinet was 15 having been increased to this figure from 13 due to escalation of war, parastatals were less than 50,from these figures the cabinet ballooned to over 100, parastatals to between 100 and 150 with bloated management structures with massive duplicated roles.Then should this kind of conduct be apportioned to the BSAP’s historical origins?Not at all, and historical stages of development should not be confused the way it has been done by this lady.

  5. Thanks Zhou, you are correct. What remains is, this has to be changed, yes, both in private and public enterprises and government departments. Even the issue of 2 vice presidents

  6. Through you Mr Editor, may I humbly request that the highly esteemed AMH Conversations fora be extended to all other major centres in Zimbabwe.

  7. Ah at last. Someone in management at a private company has seen the light and i hope he is not shouting at the wind. Lowly paid employees and trade unions have been crying about this for a long time.It is the bloated management structure that is the problem in most cases and not the poorly paid employees who are always taken as scapegoats when finances of the company go south. Stream line management and stop paying those ridiculous allowances to top management.One good example of this type of a poor management structure is at that big company mining coal in Hwange..

  8. Gukurume ReMasvingo

    Zhou, have tested if the waters a deep. President Munangagwa has invited people who are “Think Tanks” to go to him with ideas. We can be laudable in the media yet the boss himself has called for those with brilliant ideas to table them before him/ Let us move a gear up. Refraining from just talking without action. If the ideas are subbed, then we can criticize the government left right center. We can boot it out through our votes. But meantime let us give the man a chance. Have you seen the strides taken by Tanzania. We can surpass that

  9. Gukurume ReMasvingo

    Zhou, Have you tested …..

  10. Its true Mr NPS more focus and resources are channeled towards Administration than on production

  11. Clearly Zhou has his facts terribly wrong on companies in Zimbabwe and our history. Poor fellow needs to go back to school. The majority of companies in Zimbabwe limit their directorships to two persons… public companies obviously have many more. Top heavy directorate and management may have something to do with neponistic traits or perhaps political patronage. In those cases, they are doomed… sucking up productive resources for administration. The big waste, aside from top heavy management is marketing and advertising, human resources management, and other functions which can be outsourced. Critical need – good accounting (but that can be outsourced too). Small to medium companies should be paying more in wages than salaries.

  12. We need to be careful that we do not bundle everyting together and come up with a one size fit all. Each organisation has its own unique structure in terms of the ratio of productinv and non productive people.

  13. Nyasha Zhou was a culprit of top heavy management structure which brought PG to its knees. He hired Chartered Accountants in huge numbers in order to become powerful. Its time such people should just shut up

  14. Zvakozvenyuhazvirehwi Mazivazvangu

    Comment…Panofamunhukutaurakunowanda.

  15. I concur with Zhou’s narration on top-heavy admins, starting from having 2 VPs to having a minister (deputy) and a permanent secretary as well as Provincial Adminstrators and resident ministers the list is long. State run ent. like Hwange has more than 6 marketing managers to market one product – coal. NRZ has more 6 business managers AirZim…its ridiculous.

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