Shiri warns parastatals still operating in the red

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By Staff Reporter

Mutare: LANDS and Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri has warned underperforming parastatals under his ministry to emerge from their red zones and start operating viably for the benefit of the national fiscus.

He was speaking during a strategic planning workshop for parastatals operating under his ministry in Mutare on Wednesday.

The workshop sought to provide a strategic guide on how the state firms achieved their mandates as set out in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and the Draft Zimbabwe Agriculture Policy Framework (2018-2030).

Shiri said the state owned firms, infamous for always operating in the red during the past years, should now move away from a culture of existing for purposes of just paying staff salaries while failing to contribute meaningfully to the fiscus.

“I expect parastatals under my ministry to positively contribute to the GDP and declare dividends. Some parastatals are only able to pay their staff salaries and contribute nothing to the fiscus. Going forward, this will not be tolerated,” he said.

Shiri said parastatals used to contribute 40 percent of the country`s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that their role in the economy needed not to be overemphasised.

Government recently embarked on a parastatals reform that will see some underperforming companies liquidated, partially privatised while others will be adopted by line ministries.

Shiri said in the “Second Republic”, guided by Vision 2030, it is no longer business as usual.

“The culture of taking ages to attend to pertinent issues will not and cannot be tolerated. The whole nation is looking up to this Ministry to make a significant contribution towards the much anticipated turnaround of our economy,” he said.

He said heads of departments and parastatals should lead by example and be creative.

“I am however aware of the difficult operating environment. As parastatal heads, lets us explore non monetary incentives within our capacity and extend these to our subordinates in order to improve productivity across the ministry,” he said.

He emphasised the need for extension workers to adopt information communication, extension systems and partnerships with the private sector in agricultural extension services.

The minister went on to say the country`s balance of trade was in the negative as the country is importing far much more than it exported, adding “it is critical that as a nation, take bold decisions and invest in local manufacturing of some drugs such as food and mouth vaccines”.

“This will reduce pressure on scarce foreign currency,” he said.