Parastatals urged to set pace
Prosper Ndlovu in Victoria Falls
The Government expects the positive impact of the ongoing economic transformation agenda to be spread to grassroots in line with Vision 2030 targets and has charged State-owned enterprises and parastatals to lead the pace through improved service delivery and increasing their contribution to the mainstream economy.
Despite the successes registered so far under the National Development Strategy (NDS), a five-year blueprint that ends in 2025, economic stakeholders say more still needs to be done to transform ordinary people’s lives.
Following President Mnangagwa’s victory in the August 23-24 harmonised elections, and subsequently being sworn in for the second term, Government has pledged to further scale up the economic transformation momentum with the view of uplifting the masses from poverty.
This would not be achieved without public entities, in particular, playing a leading role in that drive, said Mr Allen Choruma, Permanent Secretary Corporate Governance Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
He was speaking yesterday at the opening session of the Chartered Governance and Accountancy Institute of Zimbabwe (CGAIZ) Annual Conference, where he was the guest of honour.
Mr Choruma said the era of slothfulness in public service was over as the Second Republic was determined to deliver tangible results for the benefit of communities.
He said public entities must play a leading role in fostering economic and social development, a mandate that must yield employment creation, poverty alleviation, and upliftment of the living standards of all citizens through the provision of essential infrastructure, services, and social amenities.
Public entities are entities whose operations or activities are wholly or substantially controlled by the State, whether through ownership of all or majority of shares or otherwise.
They include all statutory bodies, State-owned enterprises and parastatals (SEPs), constitutional commissions, local authorities, universities and colleges, among others.
“The people expect public entities to deliver efficient, reliable, accessible, and affordable service to the citizens.
“They expect public entities to be accountable and transparent to the people over use of public resources and shun corruption and abuse of public resources at all costs,” said Mr Choruma.
“Public entities are enablers and stimulants for economic development, growth and stability. They provide essential services in areas such as health, housing, education, agriculture, tourism, mining, transport, aviation, tourism, and other critical sectors.”
Mr Choruma said good governance of public entities is a matter of public policy interest, national economic stability, and growth.
“Sustaining economic growth through accountable resource management is the deal, the real deal towards the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.
Mr Choruma’s sentiments come at a time when the Government has expressed concern over the poor performance of several public entities in recent years, which has resulted in a collective drop in the sector’s contribution to the Gross Development Product (GDP), a key national economy growth indicator.
For instance, public entities, in particular State-owned enterprises and parastatals, at their peak in the 1990s, contributed as much as 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP.
“A decade down the line, in 2017, their contribution to GDP had reduced to 14 percent, further plummeting to below 10 percent of GDP in 2022, which according to statistics is estimated at between US$25 billion-US$28 billion,” said Mr Choruma.
“A decline in GDP contribution of public entities, in particular – State-owned enterprises and parastatals – has impacted negatively on economic growth, provision of efficient service delivery to the citizenry, the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, thus undermining the upliftment of their living standards and the quality of life.”
Given this scenario, the Permanent Secretary said it was critical that public entities, in particular State-owned enterprises and parastatals, perform in a sustainable manner to ensure the attainment of the set national development and social transformation aspirations and goals as espoused under NDS1 and ultimately leading to Vision 2030.
On its part, Mr Choruma said the Government was doing its best in setting the tone towards the desired transformation through implementing the comprehensive economic and social development reform agenda.
In particular, he said the Government was leading the way in planning, policy formulation, regulation, and control, as well as through creating an enabling infrastructure and environment to stimulate development.
As a response to these interventions, Mr Choruma said Government equally expects the private sector players to lead the pace in luring investments, creating the means of production and generation of wealth, employment and opportunities for the people.
He said Government was already walking the talk in growing the economy through rolling out new infrastructure development and rehabilitation projects with the view of improving the delivery of essential services, which in turn will attract domestic and foreign investments.
Mr Choruma said both private and public sector players must heed President Mnangagwa’s call for close collaboration with the Government in driving higher productivity through private-public-partnerships (PPPs), developing and rehabilitation of key infrastructure development.
“The private sector is also expected to invest in new factories, manufacturing plants, mines, hotels, farms, real estate, and smart cities and so on, creating wealth, employment and opportunities for our citizens, and ultimately reducing unemployment and poverty,” he said.
Such an inclusive and inward-looking development focus is at the heart of President Mnangagwa’s vision hence his mantra: “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo”, which is driven by the philosophy of ensuring that no one and no place is left behind in terms of development.
“This development ideology is the cornerstone of our economic development and social transformation agenda, and will guide our nation towards the attainment of Vision 2030,” said Mr Choruma.
He, however, said public entities would not sustain economic growth without adherence to good corporate governance principles saying there was ample empirical evidence linking good corporate governance with entity performance, efficient service delivery and national development.
Meanwhile, the conference delegates spent the entire day engaging on a range of topics guided by selected expert panellists who collectively hammered the essence embracing global corporate governance practices, ethics and scaling up stakeholder collaboration in accelerating economic transformation in Zimbabwe.
The participants noted that the conference theme: “Attaining Vision 2030, Chartered Governance and Accountancy Professionals-Catalysts for Economic Transformation” reflects on the state of the country’ economy and the need for making sure that Vision 2030 is a reality.
CGAIZ chief executive, Dr Lovemore Gomera, in his welcome remarks earlier, implored delegates to complement the transformation drive by proffering solutions to challenges that hinder business growth.
The conference continues today.