President Mugabe concedes AG battle, says loss-making parastatals should be shut 

President Mugabe concedes AG battle, says loss-making parastatals should be shut 

HARARE, September 7 (The Source) – President Robert Mugabe on Thursday said he had lost the battle to appoint Industrial Development Corporation boss Mike Ndudzo as the Auditor General after his nomination was rejected by lawmakers.

On July 27, Members of Parliament across the political divide rejected the proposed appointment of Ndudzo as Auditor General to replace the popular Mildred Chiri, arguing that he was a failure in his current job where for 26 years he has presided over the vast, loss-making state-owned enterprise with interests spanning from car assembly, fertiliser, mining to textiles.

MPs felt Chiri was being sidelined for speaking truth to power, and that she rattled her bosses with regular revelations of graft, profligacy and mismanagement of resources in government.

“You have one person like ‘emperor’ Ndudzo running the whole of IDC which is a multi- faceted company. What do you expect given that he is a very sincere man, well trained and recently they wanted to make him our Auditor General and Parliament said no, so I said ah well, you can go your own way.”

Chiri told the privately owned weekly Financial Gazette this week that she was back in her old job.

Mugabe told the business leaders that non-performing parastatals were bleeding the fiscus with habitual bail-outs and should be shut down.

“We certainly share your concerns over the under performance of the State Enterprises and Parastatals sector, whose current contribution to the national GDP is around 11 percent, down from the peak level of 40 percent,” he said.

“These are non-performers; what we must do is to find coffins and bury them with the words ‘Rest in peace.’ They said there are important ones (parastatals) which must be kept but the others we should get as many coffins as there are those which have caused us immense expenditure; they should certainly go! I don’t know what you say.”

Zimbabwe has 92 state-owned enterprises across the economy, and virtually all are struggling and have been heavily criticised for being a drag on the fiscus.

Mugabe – who last met business in 2007 – said he was an open book and promised he would meet with them ‘soon.’

“I hope the next time we meet will not be after another 10 years… As a request, I would then want us to meet in a relaxed set-up and have dialogue and not have sermons for each other like we did today,” said Mugabe.

“I want you to tell me the things that are wrong with our economy, no one will go to jail for being honest. So the next time we meet, I want you to tell me your concerns.”

His remarks followed a 32-minute praise-singing fest from business that was delivered by former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president, Charles Msipa, who glossed over the country’s deteriorating economic conditions.

Msipa who told Mugabe that business “appreciated all his policies” also urged the country’s 93-year-old leader to “keep business at heart as he always does.”