By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT will discontinue operating State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) which are not self-sustaining because they are draining the national treasury, Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu has said.
Dr Ng’andu said Government was concerned about the poor performance of parastatals because ultimately, if they ran into financial difficulties, ended up becoming a treasury problem.
The Minister said pressure from poor-performing SOEs forced Government to divert resources from the planned activities in the budget to save them from collapse.
He was speaking in Lusaka when he appeared before the Expanded Parliamentary Budget Committee led by Mbala Member of Parliament, Mwalimu Simfunkwe.
“The whole performance of parastatals is being looked at by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and I hope that new provisions that will come up will make them stronger.
“Those that are found wanting or are not able to sustain themselves then, at that point, decisions will have to be made as to whether to continue with them or not,” Dr Ng’andu said. Dr Ng’andu said parastatals were businesses meant to make profits for shareholders. Shareholders, he explained, expected a return from their investment.
“We are now agreeing with all parastatal companies under IDC specific performance required of all of them and their management and their board will be held to account because they run businesses.
“These are businesses. When you run a business, the shareholders expect a return from it, it does not expect to continue putting money in the black hole,” Dr Ng’andu said.