Zimbabwean State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo said Monday the government will commission independent audits of floundering state enterprises to assess the value of their assets and and to determine the extent of corrupt activities in the country's parastatals, many of which are on the verge of collapse.
Moyo said this process will pave the way for improved corporate governance in state enterprises that have been run down over many years by outright corruption and a lack of transparency and accountability.
He said most of the country's 76 state enterprises hired thousands of workers without following proper government procedures. Some workers have no defined tasks and spend most of their time stripping assets in lieu of pay.
“It is shocking that most of these workers who were hired without the state enterprises following proper procedures have nothing to do,” he said. "They are in fact, engaged in corrupt activities in an effort to make a living."
He said the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company used to have a fleet of 400 buses but it now has fewer than 100. The National Railways of Zimbabwe and 74 other state firms are unable to pay creditors millions of dollars.
Moyo told VOA reporter Gibbs Dube that although parastatals must get rid of redundant workers, the government is not in a position to pay out retrenchment compensation to those laid off.
Economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya in Harare said state enterprise executives and workers who engage in corrupt activities should be prosecuted.