GOVERNMENT has ordered all parastatals to exhibit at this week’s Zanu PF conference in Goromonzi at a cost of $6 million per institution, despite m
ost of them teetering on the verge of collapse due to financial problems.
Information to hand indicates Zanu PF could pocket more than $100 million if all major parastatals take part in the Import Substitution Exhibition which is running concurrently with the party conference.
The exhibition is a way through which Zanu PF wants to raid parastatals for funds. The ruling party’s own companies have largely collapsed because of corruption and mismanagement. Recent investigations by the party into its business operations have confirmed this.
If all parastatals and a chain of quasi-government enterprises — about 78 of them — exhibit Zanu PF could raise nearly half a billion for party business. Zanu PF was looking for $280 million for the conference.
Sources said originally the exhibition, co-ordinated by deputy Information and Publicity Secretary for Harare, Goodson Nguni, was supposed to be free, but the party later decided to cash in to raise money for the conference that officially opens today.
“Everything regarding the exhibition is being handled by the party (Zanu PF) accounts department at their headquarters including how the money is being paid. All cheques are being paid to Zanu PF,” an insider said.
When the Zimbabwe Independent visited Goromonzi yesterday several parastatals were setting up their stands in preparation for the exhibition.
Those that had already taken up stands include Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, Zimbabwe Post, National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, People’s Own Savings Bank, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings. A refurbished bus displayed on the Zupco stand appeared to have been hastily painted for the occasion. Zupco buses are often used to ferry Zanu PF supporters to rallies and meetings.
Senior parastatal appointments, whose positions are not advertised, are made on the basis of political affiliation and connections. This has resulted in state enterprises becoming breeding grounds for corruption and incompetence.
The Reserve Bank says parastatals remain an impediment to economic growth and a drain on the fiscus. Their debts were $76, 4 billion (in old currency) by June 30.
Ministries such as Small to Medium Enterprises and Youth, Gender and Employment Creation are also taking part in the exhibition. Private companies that are exhibiting include Clarson and Company, Smart Hydraulic, Allied Conveyers, Trium Corporation and the Forestry Commission.