POSB privatisation to  be completed this year Professor Mthuli Ncube

Nelson Gahadza-Senior Business Reporter

The partial privatisation People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB)  is targeted for completion by the end of this year, with the bank now in the process of completing outstanding deliverables.

Among the expected deliverables is a request by the Government for details of the strategic partner whose identity the bank will reveal next year.

The Government, which wholly owns the bank, plans to partially privatise POSB as part of its extensive overhaul of the underperforming public enterprise sector.

Under the reforms, most of the parastatals will either be privatised or capitalised to be able to perform better and reduce their reliance on state bailouts.

The partial privatisation of the POSB will involve the government offloading a minority stake and using the proceeds, in part, to capitalise the bank.

After strategy advisor KPMG submitted the privatisation roadmap document to Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in 2022, the Minister requested a more comprehensive document that is inclusive of the recommended strategic partner.

“The consultants are in the process of attending to the outstanding work streams and deliverables, which include the Minister’s request.

“It is anticipated that the partial privatisation project will be concluded by the end of the year 2023,” said POSB chairman Israel Ndlovu in a statement of 2022 financials.

According to Mr Ndlovu, the partial privatisation process has significantly progressed as the initial phase of the project was completed following the submission of the due diligence, company analysis and valuation reports.

POSB has been in the market for potential suitors for some time as part of the 15 parastatals earmarked for privatisation under different models by the Government. Other parastatals designated for privatisation include perennial lossmaking national carrier Air Zimbabwe, Agribank, TelOne, and NetOne. POSB is a financial services provider that is wholly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe and was established in terms of the People’s Own Savings Bank of Zimbabwe Act of 1999.

The Government says it has made steady progress on the parastatal reform programme, undertaken since 2018, meant to improve public service delivery, enhance their contribution to the overall economy and create employment.

The reform framework, which is also part of the broader National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), seeks among other reasons, to mobilise private sector capital, technology, and expertise to enhance efficiency and the effectiveness of public entities in the delivery of goods and services.

POSB recorded a net profit of $2,34 billion in inflation-adjusted terms during the 2022 financial year to December.

Net operating income for the year grew by 74 percent in inflation-adjusted terms to $19 billion, mainly due to growth in transaction volumes and values. Operating expenses surged 93 percent to $14,60 billion in inflation-adjusted terms from $7,56 billion recorded for the year 2021, driven mainly by the general rise in prices due to inflationary pressures.

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