Govt works on AirZim debt takeover

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Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Bureau
GOVERNMENT is finalising the process to take over the $334 million Air Zimbabwe debt paving way for the national airline to court new investors, a Cabinet Minister has said.

In July, Cabinet approved the assumption of over $1 billion worth of debts of some State enterprises including Air Zimbabwe and Zisco.

The move is part of accelerated efforts to make them attractive to potential suitors.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said Air Zimbabwe would only start looking for new investors once its debt has been liquidated.

“Government assumed the Air Zimbabwe debt so that the national airliner could start on a clean slate.

“What we are now waiting for is the finalisation by Treasury for the takeover of the debt before we can go on the market to look for an investor to recapitalise the business.

“Once that is done it will be easier for Air Zimbabwe to find a partner,” he said.

Last year the Government engaged five international carriers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Singapore, Turkey and Malaysia to partner Air Zimbabwe with hopes of turning around the fortunes of the flag carrier.

Government is determined to turnaround the fortunes of parastatals, especially those that have immediate impact to the economic turnaround.

However, the hunt for investors and technical partners for some of the targeted parastatals has continued at a snail’s pace given that the companies are saddled with huge debts overhang.

In his annual budget review and outlook for 2017 statement in July, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the assumption of parastatal debts would continue on a case by case basis.

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