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Friday, 28 May 2010

PF Policy on Parastatals

The same article as this story has the following comments by the Leader of the Opposition on PF policy on parastatals :

The policy of PF on these parastatals ZNBC, Zesco and ERB is that we shall give the first 25 per cent shareholding to the workers, then we will give 24 per cent to the Zambian people and 51 per cent to people with money because at the moment, companies collapse and when companies collapse the people who suffer are the workers and their children.
This is similar to the ZANACO model, except here under the PF model government has no share. We can safely assume the reporter has misquoted Mr Sata on the Energy Regulation Board [ERB] being a parastatal. The main point though is that this model still leaves the Zambian people with foreign investors controlling 51%. That would equal to foreign ownership of ZESCO and ZNBC. Quite worrying. Not only are there are far better policies one can adopt with respect to parastatals, but we must avoid generic models. I would hope the PF-UPND are undertaking a more systematic review of parastals that recognises the different challenges facing parastatals to better inform tailored policy options. Generic policies are seldom effective. With this in mind, its better tactics for the Opposition to speak of  "we shall consult on options with the public, which may include X, Y or Z".  ZNBC is particularly tricky and I would suggest for that one must not necessarily privatise but to look to the BBC and other organisations for better models of regulation. ZESCO we could revisit the PPP model proposed here as part of the decoupling process.

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