Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has started parastatal reforms in a development set to result in dissolution, liquidation, absorption or mergers of State-owned entities as President Mnangagwa moves to cut expenditure by enhancing operational efficiency. Notable reforms include Zesa Holdings where boards of its three subsidiaries will be reduced to one, and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) whose board will merge with the Posts and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Cabinet on Tuesday deliberated on the framework on State and enterprises reforms and took a decision to reform them.
He said a decision on Air Zimbabwe had been deferred to allow for further discussions.
On Zesa, Minister Chinamasa said boards of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Zesa Enterprises would be dissolved and a single board established to take charge of the power utility.
“The Zesa board will be allowed to engage strategic partners under ZPC operations where necessary,” he said.
“The strategic and Zesa specific activities of Powertel will be incorporated under ZETDC, whilst excess telecommunication capacity will be included in the merger between Zarnet and Africom.”
Some of the entities would be reduced to departments in their parent ministries.
They include New Ziana, which becomes a department in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, with the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment falling under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development as a department.
Others entities to be absorbed by parent ministries include the Board of Censors, the National Liquor Licensing Authority, the National Arts Council and the Lotteries and Gaming Board.
The Special Economic Zones Authority, the Zimbabwe Investment Centre, ZimTrade and Joint Venture Unit will be merged to become a one-stop shop for potential business investors.
“The Zimbabwe National Road Administration will remain under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, but with a focus on revenue collection and not on technical road construction activities,” said Minister Chinamasa.
“The Ministry is challenged to ensure that there is improved transparency and accountability in the operation of Zinara.”
Kingstons Pvt Limited is expected to dispose of its assets, but retain its two radio licences.
Entities earmarked for dissolution are National Glass Industries and Motira, while Zimglass is expected to urgently identify a strategic partner given a worldwide movement to replace plastics with glass.
“Cold Storage Commission should finalise consideration of joint venture proposals by the Swiss and United Kingdom investors by April 30, 2018,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He said the Grain Marketing Board was expected to complete work on delinking strategic grain reserves and its commercial operations, but that the parastatal would continue to manage strategic grain reserves as Government would bear the costs of storage.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe’s recapitalisation programme will proceed.
The Agriculture and Rural Development Authority will also continue on its current search for identify strategic partners.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe will be unbundled to have a regulatory entity and airports authority.
Other entities tasked to identify strategic partners include Allied Timbers and Agribank, while the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation will be merged with the Empowerment Bank to form the Empowerment and Development Bank that will have a unit focusing on SMEs and youth development programmes.
The Forestry Commission will remain as a regulatory authority, while efforts to resuscitate Ziscosteel will continue.
Parastatals set for privatisation include National Handicrafts Centre and Ginhole Investments.
On Allied Insurance and Surface Investment and Zimbabwe Grain Bag, the Industrial Developnment Corporation is set to retain at least 10 percent in the national interest.
Parastatals set for partial privatisation or listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange include National Handling Services, Petrotrade, Zimpost, Post Office Savings Bank, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, Road Motor Services, TelOne, NetOne, Telecel and Zupco.
Others are Willowvale Motor Industries, Chemplex, Deven Engineering and G & W Minerals.
Powertel, Zarnet and Africom are set to merge.
“Detailed implementation modalities for each of the Cabinet decisions will be provided in the form of a Memorandum to Cabinet by each respective line Ministry, including indications where relevant or necessary, for the engagement of technical, financial or legal advisors in order to facilitate the reform or restructuring process agreed by Cabinet,” said Minister Chinamasa.