via Chinamasa’s views on parastatals correct | The Herald November 16, 2015
Suitable Kajau Correspondent
The call by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa to dump non-performing parastatals which are an unnecessary burden on Government is a good idea which can save the fiscus. Most of these entities have become a nuisance to Government as they demand funding from Treasury instead of contributing to the national coffers. In essence, they have ceased to be assets and transformed themselves into liabilities.
It seems something is seriously wrong with the way these organisations are run. They seem to be suffering from an acute management crisis.
Of late, nearly all the local parastatals among them the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) have been demanding funds from the Government when they are supposed to contribute to the fiscus out of their business ventures.
In fact, they are the economic side of Government. The Government tried everything within its power to keep them afloat by reducing competition and allowing them to enjoy monopoly.
In spite of all that, they are failing to make ends meet. This dictates that they should be shut or privatised because no private investor can partner with ailing entities if they are seriously looking for business. This move would save the Government from budgetary deficits incurred by channelling funds to under-performing organisations.
In view of this state of affairs, the national economic blue-print, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) demands the application of good corporate governance to enhance its success. Zim-Asset has great chance to turn-around the economic fortunes of the country if it is properly implemented, monitored and managed.
To boost public support and confidence, the state is under obligation to fasten its belt to uphold the fundamentals of excellent corporate governance in these ailing parastatals for them to serve a purpose.
Ideally, corporate governance is associated with a set of systems, principles and processes by which an organisation is governed. In the case of Zim Asset, there is need to provide clear-cut guidelines as to how activities will be directed or controlled in such a way that operational elements can fulfil organisational goals and objectives.
This should be done in a manner that adds value and to illustrate how the economy will be beneficial to all citizens in the long-term. The most critical stakeholders in Zim-Asset include everyone ranging from the board of directors in these quasi-Government departments like parastatals, management, and shareholders, customers, civil servants, and the generality of society.
The management of the Government bodies assumes the role of a trustee for the whole Zimbabwean society. The corporate governance framework is anchored on the legal, regulatory, institutional and ethical environment of the community.
This makes the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) a key player to act as a watchdog on the operations of Government pillars that are implementing the processes which prop up Zim Asset. Corruption disrupts the transformation of our economic terrain if it goes unchecked.
Corruption entails the abuse of public resources to enrich a few individuals who have access to such public utilities, and in most cases it gives unfair advantage to individuals, and their close mates. In view of such, the ZACC’s Corruption Watch should be concerned with any such abuse of power or position by anyone at every level of government.
All players should be kept under scrutiny to foster public accountability, transparency, upholding of the rule of law, and be involved in extensive consultation and participation in order to enhance universal cooperation when all issues are done in good faith.
The success of our national economic recovery is dependent on application of air-tight measures to protect and safeguard public funds, goods, vehicles, pension funds, medical aid funds, buildings and any other resources that belong to the Government.