Zimbabwe to sell shares in state-owned firms as part of reforms

Zimbabwe to sell shares in state-owned firms as part of reforms

Harare – Zimbabwe is looking to sell shares in 35 state-owned firms, including telecoms and mining entities, in the latest step to revive the economy under new political leadership, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power in November after a de facto military coup forced Robert Mugabe to resign, has made reviving the economy his top priority.

Chinamasa told reporters in Harare that Mnangagwa’s cabinet on Tuesday decided the government would partially sell some shares in a range of state-owned companies, known locally as parastatals.

“This would be done through engaging strategic partners and floating shares on the local stock exchange.

“Targeted firms include mobile carriers NetOne and Telecel, fixed line operator TelOne and savings bank POSB, all owned by the state. Shares in 17 government-run mines would also be sold.

“Like most parastatals, the mines, which mainly produce gold, have struggled over the years due to lack of capital and mismanagement, forcing some to close,� the minister said.

Chinamasa said the reform was “designed to enhance peformance, improve services delivery and to bring more order, discipline and rationality to the sector as a whole.�
He said that the government ministries would present privatisation plans to cabinet for each entity within 100 days.

“Some state regulators will become government departments while others will merge to save costs and minimise bureaucracy.

“The Special Economic Zones Authority will merge with three others, including the Zimbabwe Investment Authority to provide a one-stop shop for investors.

“It is the right thing to do but the government should go a step further and say we are moving out altogether out of these companies,� Chinamasa said. (Reuters/NAN)

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