LOCAL Government minister July Moyo yesterday told Parliament that 22 investors from local and abroad had expressed interest in struggling State-owned transport operator, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) as government steps up selling off its loss-making companies.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Moyo was speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government on the strategy to turn around Zupco.
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) said privatisation of the transport operator must be implemented carefully in order to stop political bigwigs from taking over the company and further destroying it.
“Zupco is an area where business, labour, and government are interested to ensure that public transport is consistent, and we have looked at the Chinese, Scandinavian, and British models, where privatisation of public transport was disastrous and expensive,” Moyo said.
“We ended up deciding to go for partial privatisation of Zupco to get some investors, and already, 22 potential investors — both local and international — are interested in coming in because they know that this is big business,” he said.
Moyo said government should consider warehousing the $16,1 million Zupco debt in order to ensure that the partial privatisation process succeeds, given that government has got shares in Zupco.
“Partial privatisation will give us a chance to see how Zupco can be best run. We know that when Zupco is fully operating, we will have a lot of problems because there are vested interests in mushikashikas and kombis, but as of now, government has taken a decision to (partially) privatise,” Moyo said.
He said it was important for Zupco to downsize its staff, as it had a complement of 351 staff against 56 buses.