Zimbabwe: Ncube Sets Privatisation Timelines

Finacne minister Mthuli Ncube has set timelines for the disposal and partial privatisation of a number of state-owned enterprises, as part of a raft of measures to revitalise Zimbabwe's fragile economy.

A new audit report by Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri has revealed that 23 insolvent parastatals are teetering on the brink of collapse, saddled with massive debts running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ahead of his maiden budget presentation slated for next week, Ncube outlined a strategy to privatise struggling enterprises through listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and forming joint ventures. He was addressing a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo last week. Ncube identified nine ailing state enterprises that have consistently relied on the fiscus to stay afloat which are set to be partially privatised through partnerships and listing on the local bourse .

State-run mobile operators, NetOne and Telecel, have been short-listed for privatisation over the next 12 months, together with TelOne. Petrotrade, which has been operating without a substantive chief excutive officer for the past four years and Road Motor Services (RMS), are set to be partially privatised over the next two years, through listing on the local bourse and joint ventures.

Insolvent courier Zimbabwe Posts (Zimpost), with liabilities exceeding its current assets by US$28 456 898 and the troubled People's Own Savings Bank (POSB) will see government disposing of key equity stakes in the entities over the next 12 months.

Various subsidiaries of state-run miner the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation that include Jena, Sabi, Elvington, Golden Kopje, Alaska, Mhangura, Sanyati, Kamativi and Lutope mines, will be partially privatised within the next 18 months.

The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) will also partially privatise over the next 12 months. In that period, the government will move in to liquidate perennial loss-making entities, namely Chitungwiza Garment Factory, National Glass Industries, Motira, Zimglass and Kingstons.

Government will also wholly privatise Allied Insurance, Surface Investment, Zimbabwe Grain Bag, Ginhole Investments, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) and Willowvale Mazda over the next months. Government will also wholly dispose Chemplex Corporation, Deven Engineering and G and W within the next 18 months. Last year, government invited bids from private investors to buy equity stakes in 24 state enterprises with highly leveraged capital structures.

According to Chiri's audit, the identified parastatals which are on the brink of collapse have been weighed down by corruption and maladministration.

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