Results-based management system vital for parastatals

Source: Results-based management system vital for parastatals | The Sunday Mail May 8, 2016

Tinashe Farawo
There is no doubt that the successful implementation of the country’s economic blue-print (Zim-Asset) must be underpinned and guided by the results-based management (RBM) system.
In its wisdom, Government developed the Fiscal Reform Measures and Public Administration, Governance and Performance Management in an effort to reward high performers while incompetent chief executive officers of Government-owned entities will be shown the door.
It is important to note that the hallmark of a successful organisation rests on efficient, effective and accountable management.
Most, if not all, of the country’s public enterprises and local authorities have been competing to make negative headlines in the news daily. Either they are crisis ridden, full of corruption, or incompetent.
Therefore, it is high time the results-based management system is implemented and those who are not delivering must be fired for the good of the country.
It is an international standard that when chief executive officers join struggling companies they infuse a dose of confidence into those entities. In some cases the impact will be felt immediately causing the share prices of those firms to rise.
In 1997, when Steve Jobs re-joined Apple the company was worth $3 billion but when he died five years ago the company was worth more than half a trillion dollars. The share price of Apple rose by more than 9 000 percent in just over a decade.
It is of paramount importance to note that chief executives matter in changing the fortunes of the companies they lead for the good of our motherland and its citizenry.
There is no doubt that most of the country’s parastatals are heading nowhere due to ineptitude and lack of foresight to move those entities forward.
Incompetence should not be tolerated, in fact, most chief executives of these Government-owned companies are so incompetent that they have very little to show for their doctorates and their decades at the helm of these struggling companies.
Despite boasting of several degrees in various fields stretching from administration, accountings, engineering, etc, these people are perfect examples of how not to run companies.
Figures don’t lie and 10 years is long enough for any chief executive or manager to show that they are incompetent. The record speaks for itself, on average most heads of the parastatals have been at the helm of these entities for not less than five years.
Most, if not, all of the country’s parastatals have enough potential but this potential will never be realised with the level of ineptitude that has been exhibited for years by some of these entities.
Some of these administrators are small-minded. How can one explain the failure, for example, of Hwange Colliery Company to supply enough coal to Zimbabwe Power Company for its generation of electricity in Hwange and some of its thermal stations dotted throughout the country.
How does one explain the failure by the National Railways of Zimbabwe to be lucrative in the transport business yet the railway is a cheaper mode of transport as compared to road?
How does one explain the failure by Arda to feed the nation yet the country is agro-based? Incompetence has remained the albatross around the economic neck of the country. It’s so sad that some employees at Arda cannot even grow enough maize to feed themselves.
Some of these people have a mistaken belief that they own these companies and it is wrong.
In September, the country’s power utility applied for the increase of power tariff to the regulator Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.
Almost a year down the line the increase is yet to be effected but our regional neighbours, (Zambia and South Africa) where the country is getting some of its electricity have already effected the increase.
As if that is not enough the country is importing electricity at a higher price and reselling it at a lower price. Who is going to cover that gap?
Given the important role of electricity as a catalyst for economic development, it is important for Government to move with speed and approve the long-awaited tariff increase. There is no doubt that power outages will cost the country billions. How are all the licenced power-generating projects going to be financed if the country continues to delay the increase?
A fortnight ago the media started speculating on the increase of the tariff and the regulator was quick to dismiss the speculation but it has been 10 months since the application was made.
It does not make business sense that the country continues to import power at a higher price and re-sell it at a lower price, whilst the source countries of the power demand cash upfront.
They seem not to be in a hurry to deal with the challenges facing these Government-owned entities, it seems like some of these chief executives can’t even see beyond their nose.
The inefficiencies are just painful and unbelievable and apart from their incompetence and corruption they also want to be paid handsomely for their disservice to the motherland.
These entities now need men and women of steely ideological firmness to move the country forward and grow the national cake so that we can all benefit.
Over the past few years, these State-owned entities have been bleeding the country dry and most of the problems could have been avoided had there been good corporate governance.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, Christopher Mugaga recently said most of the problems of State-owned enterprises emanates from ineptitude boards.
“The issue of competence comes when it comes to the boards. Most of these boards are littered with beggars. They are so desperate that when they receive fuel coupons they can’t question anything. In fact, they can’t exercise their independence,” he said.
Mr Mugaga said although it is important for board members not to get into politics to save their business interests. He added that parastatals should introduce a culture of accountability and performance-based contracts to improve efficiency.