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Zimbabwe Govt Planning to Sell Loss Making Parastatals

Air Zimbabwe has been making loses to the extent that some of its planes were impounded by creditors.

Kudzanai Zvinavashe

Zimbabwe’s new administration is under pressure to make the country’s economy work.

Its latest plan is to privatize some of the state-owned companies that have been losing money and in turn bleeding the national treasury.

Among the state-owned companies or parastatals that the government would like to sell are the national airline and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), as well as the country's supplier of electricity.

Most local people say the move may result in the government saving millions of dollars.

Some workers at the National Railways of Zimbabwe have not been paid for many years.
Some workers at the National Railways of Zimbabwe have not been paid for many years.

Munyaradzi Dodo, a young Zimbabwean, says it was long time coming

“I think it’s long overdue for some parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe, NRZ those have been mismanaged for a long time.”

Dodo adds the move may reflect failure but it’s a good move nonetheless.

“I think for others it's a sign that the government has failed to manage its work and doesn’t really know how to operate viable entities and should just leave that to the private sector. I think it’s a good move in general.”

Tino Muzavazi, an entrepreneur, says the move will help government focus on top priorities.

“It will actually give them more time to actually focus on trying to create policies that create conducive environments for businesses to start investing in. This is what they are supposed to be doing, not running companies.”

Michael Zimoyo, a tertiary student at a local university, agrees, saying it is a step in the right direction. But he says government should retain oversight of certain sectors of the economy.

“In as much as it’s good to have investment, there are some services that we need government overlooking those, for example transport. You cannot necessarily privatise all that, you still need government to be able to overlook.”

He says another alternative would be for government to sell stakes in the parastatals to private interests – yet still retain the controlling power.

Critics say the new policy should help attract foreign investment and turn these businesses into profit-making entities.

They say investors want to make money and as a result, weeding out corruption in the government-run companies should also be high on the agenda.

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