Ncube: New privatisation programme closed to wealth vultures

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By Alois Vinga

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube says government’s ongoing privatisation process will not create any avenues for corrupt politicians and business persons to manipulate and further enrich themselves through stealing from the entities.

He was responding to concerns by parliamentarians over the weekend who had asked if the process would not be taken advantage of again by politically connected individuals.

Ncube said that the necessary checks and balances were in place to avoid any form of manipulation.

“We do not intend to embark on 100 percent privatisation because we are pursuing partial privatisation which will see government retaining its shareholding stake and continues to be part of the strategy.

“Government will not allow any shenanigans to take over the parastatals,” he said.

There are strong fears some top individuals with links to the Zanu PF establishment could use their influence once more to buy shares within the entities most probably with funds corruptly sourced.

Some corrupt government ministers have also been accused of appointing their allies to boards of entities, in the process, creating cartels to milk the firms dry. 

Meanwhile, Ncube said if government continued to hold 100 percent stake in the parastatals, this will not help the situation because past failures under such regime.

In October this year, government unveiled plans to privatise some of its loss making entities which continue feeding on treasury while failing to stand on their feet.

So far, entities like NetOne, TelOne and Post office Savings Bank have been listed for urgent privatisation.

The initiative has brought concerns among parliamentarians who met Ncube during the 2019 pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo weekend.

Agribank’s chief executive, Sam Malaba this week also said the biggest challenges faced by Zimbabwean parastatals was abuse by ministers who often second their less qualified allies to boards to the detriment of the companies.

“It is expected that the (Public Entities) Corporate Governance Act will deal with some of these deficiencies.

“This situation is exacerbated by the fact that when the minister leaves the ministry, the board is fired and new board members are appointed,” he said.