New Zimbabwe.com

Parastatal reform: Mnangagwa bites the bullet

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has taken advantage of a “fake news release” to push through a process to reform the country’s parastatals blamed for bleeding the economy.
In a statement Sunday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa acknowledged that social media and speculative reporting had been misleading but helped generate interest.
“The flurry of media coverage and speculative reporting who followed upon the dissemination of a false media release from a non-existent State Agency although misleading and unhelpful has generated expression of interest from a wide range of potential investors, joint venture partners and or strategic partners in respect of a number of our State Entities,” Chinamasa said.
“This is most welcome and reflects the growing confidence shown from both within the country and from beyond our borders in our new political leadership, it’s intense focus on the economy and it’s collective determination to restore our country to a path of sustainable economic growth and development”.
Mnangagwa has been on a global charm offensive presenting Zimbabwe as a country ready for investment after years of isolation under former President Robert Mugabe who was ousted in a military coup in November last year.
Mugabe had also uncharacteristically announced that most loss making parastatals were due for the “economic graveyard” before he was pushed out.
Chinamasa added: “For the sake of clarity, I can confirm that relevant government agencies including the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (Sera), in consultation with line ministries are in the process of developing a proposal for comprehensive reform and rationalisation of the State Enterprises and Parastatal sector.”
The Finance minister said the proposals are being crafted on the basis of input from line ministries “including evidence based assessments of the current financial and performance status and potential future viability of each entity”.
“In instances where the entity is of critical strategic nature and must therefore remain under government control or with a majority government shareholding, the line ministry has been directed to develop credible proposals for effective turnaround of the entity,” the Treasury chief said.Advertisement

A consolidated memorandum will, according to Chinamasa, be brought before Cabinet for approval.
He added that pending finalization of the proposals interested parties and would be investors can approach line ministries “so as not to discourage or disappoint those within Zimbabwe and without who are genuinely interested in supporting or participating in the reform process”.
At the tail end of last year social media was awash with the claim that government was planning to dispose of a number of firms.