BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions (Comaliso) has urged government to transfer ownership of struggling State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to private citizens able to run them as part of the country’s revival strategy for SOEs.
Comaliso a free-market economy think-tank, in its recent policy document said SOEs had been run down by corruption as exposed by Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri’s reports.
The economic advocacy group said this was not the first time that the AG has cited bad governance as the major driver to the collapse of SOEs, which now contribute less than 15% of the gross domestic product of the country from a peak of 40% in the 1990s.
Comaliso said research confirmed that State monopoly bred inefficiency and inevitable collapse of SOEs.
“The overall policy goal is to transfer SOE assets into the hands of citizens so that the government burdens itself with matters of good governance rather than business. To us, it makes absolute common sense.
“A specific percentage must be set aside for citizens, rather than preferred corporations. Sometimes even institutions and community-based organisations can invest in such shares to finance their programmes from dividends. Comaliso looks at this as a form of cultural revolution, where equity ownership is put in the hands of citizens, not some hologram called ‘government’ ”.
The think-tank also said employees and local consortiums could run SOEs better than government as their survival depended on productivity.
Government has announced plans to privatise or merge its ailing parastatals while disbanding and recapitalising others. However, there has been little to zero movement in that regard.