Saturday, April 21, 2012

(HERALD) Share trust schemes must be led by locals

Share trust schemes must be led by locals
Saturday, 21 April 2012 00:00
Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT will not allow companies which cede 51 percent stake to locals to hijack and dictate operations of the Community Share Ownership Trusts, a Cabinet Minister has said. Addressing provincial administrators and rural district council chief executives from around Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday, Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo said such “counter-productive” moves were unacceptable.

This comes amid reports that some company officials were taking up influential roles in the administration of trusts set up to benefit the communities where they operate.

“It is expected that respective chief executive officers of local authorities should effectively discharge their secretariat duties as provided for under the enabling policy framework,” he said.

“No other persons should at this stage be assigned to play that role.”

He said some company executives had assumed the secretariat roles.

“It boggles the mind why such a counter-productive scenario should be allowed to develop. This should be reversed with immediate effect.”

Minister Chombo said some companies were recruiting staff to manage the trusts when they are not yet formally constituted.

“Who is recruiting that staff?
“Who will the staff be accountable to?
“Are they going to be loyal to the Trust and Government?”

He said decisions taken before the Trusts were formally constituted are “null and void”.

“Resources derived from the schemes should be used for the development and maintenance of public infrastructure,” he said. To ensure successful implementation of the schemes, Minister Chombo said, Board of Trustees and the respective local authority should forge close linkages.

“It is at this stage that the Trusts should not operate as parallel structures otherwise it will undermine the viability and relevance of the local authority and other governance structures,” he said.

He, however, said local authorities should not sit back and expect the scheme to fund all their development initiatives.

“The schemes were not created to take over service delivery mandate of council. Instead it is meant to complement the development efforts of local and other development agencies,” he said.

Acting Secretary for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Mr George Magosvongwe said indigenisation was meant to improve the living standards of Zimbabweans.

“You should be in charge not to be under charge . . . This is the time for everyone from the grassroots level to participate in the mainstream economy,” he said.

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