Govt serious on parastatal reforms

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Enacy Mapakame

HARARE – The new Government is serious on parastatal reforms implementation and significant progress is anticipated in the next one year as part of efforts to enhance efficiency and transparency, a senior official has said.

This is also in line with Government’s plan of achieving a middle income economy by 2030. To achieve this status at the set time, strategic economic enablers and providers of key utilities and services need to reform and uphold corporate governance and accountability.

This should see these entities reclaiming their yesteryear glory, when they contributed around 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Responding to questions at the recently held Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) leaders Conference in Victoria Falls, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach, said there was positive sentiment and political will which should see significant progress being made in reforming parastatals and state enterprises.

“I can assure you that this time Government is serious about parastatals and state enterprise reforms. There is political will this time unlike in the past.

“Government wants to ensure corporate governance in state enterprises improves, which has been a problem. By this time next year, let us exchange notes on this issue. There will be significant change and progress made,” he said.

Ambassador Comberbach said parastatals and state enterprises had potential to improve their performance as others had already transformed and on path to recovery.

Agribank, TelOne and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) are among the enterprises that are transforming as they move towards fulfilling their mandate while upholding corporate governance and transparency.

Industrialists have also noted that without constant, cost effective electricity, running water, efficient telecommunications, reliable cost effective transport infrastructure, Government’s vision of rapid industrialization and flow of foreign direct investment will not be achievable.

This will also dampen any plans to increase production, plans to increase exports both to regional and international markets as well as job creation.

Apart from foreign currency shortages, local industry has also bemoaned poor infrastructure and erratic utilities supplies as some of the key challenges affecting competitiveness of local production.

The bulk of these utilities and services are provided by state enterprises and parastatals such as ZESA, Zimbabwe national Water Authority (ZINWA), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).

On June 8, 2018, the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act became law and the accompanying regulations were gazette on August 31 this year. Recognition of such laws should help uphold corporate governance, transparency and accountability in the public entities.

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