Mugabe urged to sell state firms to help economy

President Robert Mugabe’s government should immediately sell more than a dozen state firms to help raise money for the embattled economy, Zimbabwe’s central bank Governor Gideon Gono said on Wednesday.

The privatisation of loss-making state firms would yield up to $3-billion this year, easing a foreign-currency crunch in the struggling Southern African nation, Gono said in a monetary policy statement.

”The resolute implementation of the privatisation programme remains a viable route through which government can unlock immense value, both in local and foreign exchange terms,” said Gono, who for the past three years has spearheaded an effort to revitalise Zimbabwe’s sinking economy.

Mugabe’s government has talked about plans to privatise dozens of state firms, ranging from the national airline to a tractor plant, but analysts claim it holds onto the unprofitable enterprises as part of political patronage programme.

Gono said the government must overcome its fears of selling shares in some companies regarded as ”strategic investments” because they are costing too much in state subsidies, helping to fuel inflation, which is running at more than 1 200%.

In a schedule accompanying his monetary statement, he suggested the government immediately sell some shares in Air Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company and 13 other state-owned or controlled firms.

A carefully rolled-out privatisation programme could meet Zimbabwe’s need to raise crucial foreign exchange and help boost funding for health care, including the country’s fight against HIV/Aids, Gono said, adding that a delay could hurt the country’s chances of bouncing back from a prolonged recession.

An economic crisis that many critics blame on Mugabe’s policies has left the once-promising country grappling with chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency as well as rising unemployment and poverty. — Reuters

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Africa’s problem is vaccine access, not hesitancy

Omicron has shown up the racism of the West and highlighted inequalities and failures in our own countries. We need to tackle these to get more people vaccinated

Catastrophic climate change will affect the poorest – Climate commission

As a result of its over reliance on coal fired power, the energy transition is set to be a monumental shift for provinces — Mpumalanga in particular — where the local economy is driven by the coal value chain

International whistleblower awards honour four South Africans

Babita Deokaran, Thabiso Zulu, Francois van der Westhuizen and Pieter Snyders received international recognition at awards hosted by the Blueprint for Free Speech

South Africa’s growing social unrest proving as big a threat...

Third quarter GDP numbers have interrupted a four quarter economic growth streak because of the July unrest.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…