Parastatals improve on governance standards: Ncube

Most public enterprises are now upholding good corporate governance standards in line with Public Entities Corporate Governance Act, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

The Public Entities Corporate Governance Act provides for governance of public entities in compliance with Chapter 9 of the Constitution.

It also provides a uniform mechanism for regulating conditions of service for senior officials of public enterprises.

Citing an unnamed survey, Prof Ncube said 80 percent of public enterprises were now providing annual reports to the shareholder (Government). Previously, some state owned companies would take several years without holding annual general meetings or reporting financials.

“In implementation of the respective Act, Government has developed Corporate Governance Manuals, with stakeholder consultations and corporate Governance having been rolled out,” said Minister Ncube.

“Survey for readiness for adoption of modern corporate governance was conducted and has since been completed. The results of the survey confirm the positive impact of the Act, with close to 80 percent of public entities now reported to be conducting annual general meetings.”

Government partly or wholly owns 92 companies, most of which have been making losses for years due to mismanagement. Poor corporate governance has been largely blamed for the companies’ poor performance.

Government is implementing public enterprise reforms, which include reducing shareholdings in some of the entities to improve efficiency and governance and lessen burden on the fiscus.

Some of the entities the Government is seeking to reduce its stake in include telecommunications companies, NetOne, TelOne and Telecel. The Government is also seeking equity partners for national airline, Air Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.

Analysts, however, say while there was a marked improvement in upholding good corporate governance by some state owned entities, violation of good practices was still evident in some.

“There seem to be no hunger to force some of the public entities to uphold good governance.”

Minister Ncube said the Corporate Governance Unit finalised the on-line database of prospective board members as required by the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.

Line ministries can now draw their requests for potential board members from the data base, he added. The introduction of the public entities Corporate Governance Act also brought general stability to the tenure 0f boards of public entities.-chronicle.cl.zw

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