GOVERNMENT should not rush to privatize Indeni Oil Refinery and TAZAMA by pulling out of the petroleum procurement and leave the sector at the mercy of the private sector, the National Union of Transport and Allied Workers (NUTAW) has warned.
NUTAW president Kinsley Kachenjela said the union was disturbed by revelations by Government in its 2017 Budget about its plans to disengage from the petroleum procurement process.
Mr. Kachenjela said it was unfortunate that a proposal for the debate was submitted without much serious consultation with all stakeholders, including the union.
He said it was a fact that leaving strategic economic sectors such as petroleum into the hands of the private sector was a recipe for a disaster.
Mr Kachenjela said market forces could never be trusted to deliver on the social contract that Government has with the people who elected them into power.
He said even in developed countries, certain subsidies had been maintained to cushion certain sectors of the economy especially agriculture.
He charged that capitalism had insatiable appetite for profit accumulation and ‘‘survived on the philosophy of creative destruction’’.
“Learning from the 2008 global financial crisis, we have come to learn that the financial crisis was caused by market failures. It was the failure of self-regulations and where there are market failures, thousands of workers pay the price through massive job losses and destruction of pension funds. And due to corporate greed, these private companies have set their business ratios such as return on the equity (RoE) and return on investments (RoI) at abnormal percentages, as high as 30 percent.
‘‘This is what is making doing business in Africa a lucrative venture to private companies which are reaping abnormal profits in Africa due to high RoE and RoI,” Mr Kachenjela said.
Mr Kachenjela appealed Government to consider expanding and modernizing Indeni refinery so that it could supply finished petroleum products to the sub-region using Angolan crude oil and become a base of job creation.
He said getting rid of poorly performing State-owned enterprise (SOEs) was not a solution but that there was need to promote professionalism into the management of the SOEs and limit political interference.
He said Indeni and TAZAMA were strategic companies which could turn into economic giants if the country could use them to exploit regional markets such as SADC and COMESA.