This is daylight robbery

HARARE - Parastatals, long a drain on the fiscus, seem to be getting away with daylight robbery.

Hardly a day goes by without a story on parastatal bosses paying themselves salaries which are out of this world.

Over the past weeks, obscene salaries earned by some parastatal fat cats have been exposed.

Where is the conscience of bosses who earn so much money when the rest of their workers are starving and they are failing to provide the services they are in existence for?

Are they so ignorant of business practices?

When the chips were down, doctors were earning the equivalent of 50 cents, while the parastatal bosses earned bags of money.

When the situation changed, government’s supervisory mechanisms seem to have failed because there was a ministry which was supposed to ensure that the parastatals performed.

But alas, the situation seemed to have gotten out of hand.

First it was, the bosses at the national broadcaster ZBC, who denied their junior workers their picayune salaries and found it justifiable to deposit fat sums into their bank accounts.

They even had the temerity to pay their house maids amounts equivalent to managers’ salaries in some reputable companies.

They did not stop at that. They paid ghost workers too, some of who were their wives.

Then last week, the Public Service Medical Aid (PSMAS) scandal was exposed.

The top bosses’ monthly salary of $230 000 salary equivalent to what a manager elsewhere in the country takes almost a decade to earn.

The civil servants, the very people who were supposed to be provided with the health insurance have been struggling to make ends meet from their meagre salaries.

What is it they do to justify these huge figures?

The very same story has been repeated at other parastatals and city councils where salaries are gobbling 80 percent of revenue, leaving very little for service provision.

This grab-all attitude of bosses in many institutions does not augur well for the country’s economy which is fast collapsing.

Have we become so selfish that we no longer care about others, even those who create the wealth that sustains us?

The rationale of creating parastatals was that government should supervise the provision of certain basic services like electricity, pensions and water.

For electricity, the idea was to electrify the whole country, then allow the more efficient private sector to chip in and supply power. That is what happened in North, South America, and Europe.

Government should show its even hand in resolving the way parastatals are run by stopping this madness.

Comments (6)

What of parastatals such as PowerTel and ZESA? These must also be investigated as the "big dogs" in these companies are earning way too much and are owning properties all over harare and sending their children to rather expensive schools, how is that justified?

concerned citizen - 30 January 2014

I must agree...There should be a clean up of all parastatals not just the few in the press. I am sure there are other parastatals which have been lumped into this unfairly and these should push for transparency across the board so that they are cleared of this ugly tag!

gutter poet - 30 January 2014

How about starting a know your parastatals column in your paper Mr Editor. I believe at last count there were 76 parastatals funded by the public through govt. Yes it will be most interesting to know the size of their budgets and wages bill and of course how "well" they have doing and the underlying justification for those salaries. I would also be interested in knowing the names of board members of these parastals and any notables successes they have had in business elsewhere.because I believe source of these problems lie with the recycling of board members in parastatals.

wadyenhiri - 31 January 2014

The abnormalities be-founding our parastatals, besides being "parasitic", are only an epitome of a collective leaderless "civilization". The Bible says "I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will flock". So help us God.

Timothy - 1 February 2014

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Irrrigation Matters - 3 February 2014

Can anybody please assist us to understand these issues better. Does the evidence collected or revealed so far not warrant the perpetrators to be behind bars by now? How much do their bank accounts hold and PAYEE remitted? What are those responsible waiting for? Can we make citizen's arrest because some of those involved are reported to be still in office. Bhora mughedhi empowerment nhai??

tomasi tohwi - 3 February 2014

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