PARASTATALS could contribute around 60% to the country's gross domestic product if they were run properly, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said.
Mutambara said those running parastatals needed to be accountable for the operations of the entities.
He said other countries had harsher penalties for dealing with failed heads of parastatals, adding Zimbabwe should consider that route.
Mutambara was speaking at the ZITF International business conference on Wednesday.
Analysts have noted that while parastatal reforms have always been a priority since mid-1980s, nothing has been done to institute reforms.
All the policies followed by the government to rehabilitate the state entities have failed because of the large scope of their nature; government comes out as a poor decision maker.
Rather, analysts suggested that parastatal reform efforts should be aimed at reducing parastatal dominance and promoting a larger role for Public-Private Partnerships while at the same time improving parastatals' use of resources.
At the moment, a business conference was told, the state was not getting proper or even returns from past investments and assets were being misused.
According to a recent African Development Bank report, a total of nine state enterprises have a direct role in the provision of basic services.
These are the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in the case of water; Zesa Holdings, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) in the case of electricity; the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) and Air Zimbabwe in the provision of railway and civil aviation services; and TelOne and NetOne in communications.
With the exception of communications, where there is substantial private sector service provision, and air travel, where Air Zimbabwe competes with other regional and international carriers, the remaining state operated infrastructure services face little or no private competition. Zinwa has a monopoly in the provision of raw water and clear water for small towns and rural areas.
Mutambara said the country should pay attention to the need for the development of human capital and the opportunities that exist in consumer goods industries if any economic growth were to be achieved.
He said government was currently emphasising minerals and agriculture, yet there were opportunities in retail and banking services. According to global research, sub-Saharan Africa consumer-facing industries have the potential to earn US$1,3 trillion.