LORRAINE MUROMO/TAFADZWA MHLANGA
The World Bank has urged government to practise transparent and consistent reporting, expand gender diversity and to reduce political interference in the operations of State-Owned Entities (SOEs).
This comes as government has provided wrong figures of financial aid provided by the Chineese and US governments.
In its 2020 national budget, Treasury reported that China had given US$3 881 500 in aid this year which was later disputed by the Chinese government which claimed to have provided US$136,8 million.
And now it has also emerged that in the same budget, Zimbabwe claimed to have received US$252 722 653 aid from the US, but the US government says it extended aid amounting to US$334,4 million.
Speaking at the launch of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act in Harare yesterday, World Bank governance general manager Nicola Smithers (pictured) said the Harare adminstration should encourage the separation of roles between itself and the management boards of SOEs.
“With reference to the European SOEs, we can adopt some few lessons from them; reduced political interference into the operation of the SOEs, gender diversity, transparency and consistent reporting will see the implementation of this Act possible and will see the SOEs flourishing,” she said.
“There should also be an effective separation of roles between the government and the management for the SOEs to operate effectively.”
She added that there should be an effective monitoring and transparency on the financial and service delivery performance of the SOEs to create value for society.
The newly promulgated Act, funded by the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund and the World Bank, seeks to improve the internal management structures of parastatals and other public entities, leading to the improvement of their performance. It will come into operation on a date to be fixed by the President.
European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said he supported the implementation of the Act.
“We are in full support of the Act and it is now up to Zimbabweans themselves. Zimbabweans need this form of a game changer and I hope it will earmark some changes in the financial management of public funds,” he said.
Finance minister, Mthuli Ncube officially launched the Act saying that public entities needed to play their part in reviving the economy.
“It is, therefore, important that good corporate governance is instilled in public entities in order to ensure that good governance systems are put in place for the good of the country. Good governance is the key to public accountability and a precondition for creating trust in the government,” he said. Ncube added that well-governed SOEs have a positive impact not only on the country’s budget but on the public’s perception of the government and would also boost investor confidence.