Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa on Tuesday said parastatal reforms are in full swing, with commendable milestones achieved so far in a number of companies including the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Cold Storage Commission (CSC).
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Mnangagwa said: “Significant steps have been realised in the implementation of the public enterprise reforms, these include the: de-merger of GMB into the GMB Strategic Grain Reserve and Silo Foods Industries; recapitalisation of the NRZ for which US$420 million has now been secured by the DIDG (the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group); recapitalisation of CSC, of which the approved strategic partner is already on the ground; unbundling of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ); approval by Cabinet of the roadmap for the privatisation of TelOne and NetOne as a single entity and the partial privatisation of Allied Timbers, POSB, Zupco, Agribank and the IDBZ (Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe).”
CSC investor Boustead Beef is already on the ground working towards the revival of the company that used to export beef to Europe.
Further, DIDG, which won the tender to recapitalise the National Railways of Zimbabwe has indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was playing a critical role in attracting the Diaspora to invest.
Since the coming in of the Second Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been mandated with championing economic diplomacy, so as to attract more investors and revitalise the economy.
Ambassadors have also been tasked with ensuring that they market investment opportunities that exist in Zimbabwe so as to grow the economy and help in the attainment of Vision 2030 of an upper middle income society where citizens have decent jobs and a per capita income of US$3 500.
DIDG executive chairman Mr Donovan Chimhandamba told The Herald that they were happy with the role being played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially in the drive to conclude the US$420 million NRZ recapitalisation project.
“We are happy with such progress and it shows that there is hope for the Diaspora as this project will be a definite catalyst to the rest of the Diaspora who are watching this project closely as a sign to invest or not.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has continued to lend its unequivocal support as the Diaspora affairs are housed under their department,” said Mr Chimhandamba.
He added that they have since received the board resolution from NRZ stating that subject to acceptance of their proof of funding by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, NRZ has already accepted their proposal.
“We have communicated with Treasury and plans are in motion to set up engagements with us, Afreximbank and institutional investors to confirm the various funding matters and finalise the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement.
“As Zimbabweans, it is time that we all work together to remove any impediments surrounding the project as further delays are affecting investor confidence and leave the employees and customers with no clarity of the future.
“We also happy that our lead bank, Afreximbank is a bank known to everyone in Zimbabwe and has continued to lend its support to Zimbabwe during its most difficult times,” said Mr Chimhandamba.
Zimbabwe, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, sits on the Afreximbank board, and Mr Chimhandamba said “any doubt in terms of capacity to fund this transaction cannot be in question as Afreximbank currently has debt facilities in Zimbabwe and have a proven track record in Zimbabwe”.