Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa has ruled out the possibility of nationalising the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ), and warned stakeholders to be wary of taking such an “emotional” decision.
Speaking in the National Assembly during a debate on the Finance Bill last week, Minister Chinamasa said if NBSZ was turned into a parastatal, chances were high that service delivery would deteriorate, a situation that would likely result in the supply of blood being compromised.
During debate, Shamva MP Cde Joseph Mapiki (Zanu-PF) called for the Government to take over management of blood to ensure that it was affordable to ordinary people. Cde Mapiki slammed NBSZ chairman Justice George Smith (Retired) — who has been at the organisation for the past 41 years — for overstaying.
Earlier, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care had presented a report that pushed for NBSZ to be put under Government control. But Minister Chinamasa said this was likely to have adverse consequences on the management of the organisation.
“I do not agree with you on the blood transfusion (to move from) a private company,” he said.
“I do not think there is anything problematic. In fact, my own view is, if this blood transfusion was a parastatal, there would be no blood for our people.
“Let us not worry about the price. Generally, costs go up and what is important is that it should be well managed, and we should not take an emotional decision that we want to make it a parastatal, which we then proceed to mismanage.
“The consequences are more catastrophic than having it in private. I know this company; it is well run, well managed for many years and I would want this to continue.”
Minister Chinamasa said Government had so far mobilised $24 million from the tax that is levied on mobile phone calls towards enhancing health service delivery.
“My disappointment, which we raised with the Ministry of Health, is their rate of absorption,” he said. “We threatened them in December, just to make them move to say why are you not spending the money?
“We threatened and said if you do not spend the money, it will come back to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Only then did they start running. Of course, we are not going to have it back into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, but the truth of the matter is that they did not have their act in order.”