Sweeping reforms

  • Samia demands parastatals to run as public enterprises
    They should not be interfered in their operations

ARUSHA : PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has called for carrying out drastic reforms on government enterprises so that they operate as public entities.

The reform will enable the entities to fulfil the goals for which they were established by allowing Tanzanians to buy shares from the government agencies and institutions, a move that will keep them afloat, according to Dr Samia.

Delivering her remarks before opening a three-day Chief Executive Officers’ (CEOs) and Heads of Institutions Forum here yesterday, the Head of State directed the Treasury Registrar (TR) to consider such an option to have a thriving public sector.

“The government commands a huge amount of shares in these Parastatals, I think it is high time we turned them into public enterprises for public authority and autonomy,” she argued.

According to Dr Samia, this was Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere’s vision when he sought to establish such Parastatals, soon after Independence.

She said Mwalimu had wanted the entities to be owned by the public but since during that time many people could not afford to buy shares the government decided to invest in them (entities).

“Some entities have tried to sell shares to the public and failed along the way and we’ve ended up with Parastatals which are entirely dependent on the government,” the President observed.

She said it is high time the government entities changed and focused on fulfilling the goals for which they were established.

Dr Samia cited Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt as some of the countries with robust public enterprises, contrary to Tanzania, where a great deal of state Parastatals depend on the government for their survival.

With 248 Parastatals under the watch of the Treasury Registrar, the Head of State challenged the state-run organisations to start being efficient and productive.

She noted with concern that some Parastatals were operating at a loss.

In the same vein, Dr Samia hinted on a possible move that will be bent on rescuing non-performing government agencies.

According to the President, the Office of the Treasury Registrar – led process will see a raft of measures being undertaken to salvage such entities.

“Some of the agencies have been performing overriding functions and duties  while others have become irrelevant, there will be some reforms coming and you ought to be ready for them,” she challenged the CEOs and institutional heads.

Dr Samia, however assured that there will be no job losses in the envisaged reforms, saying the government wasn’t planning to delist any Parastatal, but to keep them afloat.

The exercise, according to the President will also witness the merger of some government agencies and institutions.

“The government will be open to views and opinions from the stakeholders,” she insisted.

The President equally challenged the CEOs and institutional heads to up their games while running Parastatal organisations, saying the government was pumping in a lot of resources in keeping them afloat.

Without mincing words, Dr Samia emphasised that the CEOs should be the last persons to leave office in the face of adversities, à la the popular maritime adage which says ‘the captain should be the last person to leave their ship alive before its sinking’.

“Ultimately, we want to see these State entities start operating on profit and contribute dividends to the government,” the President insisted.

In June this year, Dr Samia issued a stern warning to underperforming government Parastatals, stating that they could face deregistration.

President Hassan indicated that the government is currently assessing the performance of state-run corporations.

This comes as the government has invested more than 70tri/- in its State entities.

Parastatals or state corporations play a significant role in the Tanzanian economy, contributing to various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, banking and others.

The years after the Arusha Declaration saw a proliferation of parastatals, or government corporations, in almost every sector, including industry, agriculture, banking, trade, transport and housing.

The government negotiated compensation with the owners of the banks and large factories that were nationalised and run as parastatals––government-owned arms-length bodies.

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