The Zimbabwean government has slated 11 state-controlled enterprises for privatization but the move has stirred concern the parastatals might end up being parceled out among top ZANU-PF officials.
Legislator Larry Mavima, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the privatization process is intended to reduce government involvement in various enterprises. Most state enterprises require substantial subsidies to keep them afloat - but the state-owned cellular communications unit could fetch a significant price were it offered to international or regional buyers.
The ZANU-PF member of Parliament for Zvishavane-Runde in Midlands province, an industrial center, said targeted firms will not be sold for a song. He said his committee is assessing the value of parastatal assets. “We are going to conduct a specific review of the assets and then determine the appropriate investors for these enterprises,” he said.
Sources said firms up for privatization include the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the Grain Marketing Board, fixed-line provider TelOne and mobile player NetOne, Cold Storage, Allied Timbers, Air Zimbabwe and Agribank.
Though privatization of state enterprises is often recommended by institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to liberalize the economy and reduce government costs, economic commentator Walter Mbongolwane said privatization should be put off until a properly constituted and accountable government is in place.