On Wednesday 18 April, Zimbabwe will commemorate its independence anniversary under a new leader for the first time in 38 years. But the majority of Zimbabweans will also attest to the fact that economic benefits that should have come with political liberation have been elusive. New President – Emmerson Mnangagwa – is however, putting in place reforms to help revive the country’s long-beleaguered economy. One such big move are the state-owned parastatals reforms that have just been announced.
In a statement below, and which can be read in detail and in full here, Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa, gives elaborate details on which State Enterprises and Parastatals will be reviewed. But to note is what happens to firms such as Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), Zimbabwe Grain Bag, Petrotrade, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the rather controversial National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Unit. Chinamasa’s statemet follows:
Government has been consistent in emphasizing the critical contribution expected from the State Enterprises and Parastatal (SEP) sector towards the revival of Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes and in this regard has for some time been pursuing a programme of SEPs reform designed to enhance performance, improve service-delivery and to bring more order, discipline and rationality to the sector as a whole.
This includes – promoting good corporate governance in the SEPs sector; undertaking an overall Strategic Portfolio Review; individual SEPs Performance Reviews; and conducting Forensic Audits where the need arises in some SEPs.
The 24th November, 2017 Inaugural Statement and the more recent State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency, the President Emmerson Mnangagwa, together with the 2018 National Budget have served to inject additional weight and greater urgency to this programme of reform, and have underlined the need for Government to significantly accelerate development of a SEPs Short and Medium Term Reform Framework (SEPs-SMTRF) that would guide the implementation of the National SEPs Reform Framework.
This Framework has been developed by the arms of Government mandated to oversee SEPs governance, performance and reform, namely the Corporate Governance Unit (CGU) within the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) on the basis of a comprehensive diagnostic analysis of the overall sector.
In order to facilitate this task and so as to lay a sound, evidence-based foundation on which to conduct the analysis and to develop effective reform strategies, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) issued Cabinet Circular No 19 of 2017, which directed Line Ministries to produce detailed self-assessment and proposed turn-around strategies for all SEPs under their respective purview.
Line Ministries have since responded to this directive, providing relevant data which, in turn, has used to develop a memorandum recommending State Enterprises Reforms. The Memorandum was considered by Cabinet on the 10th of April 2018.