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State firms mooted

By Report by Moipone Malefane | 2012-03-02 09:57:14.0

THE ANC is pushing for the establishment of more state-owned enterprises covering diverse areas such as publishing, banking, medicines, manufacturing and mining.

The state-owned companies will do business directly with the government and most likely compete with the private sector.

In its policy discussion papers the ANC has provided more details about its plans to use Post Bank as state bank and also establish a publishing enterprise and a pharmaceutical company, with the government as a controlling shareholder. A state-owned mining company has been established.

The discussion papers, due for release on Monday, state that the postal infrastructure and Post Bank are needed by government to deliver services to the people.

"As such, ownership of the post office and the Post Bank by government should be linked to efforts to ensure that the two institutions are sustainable."

The party says in its papers that a state bank should not only be defined in terms of ownership, but in terms of the services that are delivered by Post Bank.

"To achieve this the government should introduce policy guidelines to direct opportunities to the Post Bank as a bank of first choice of government and a primary platform for government and citizens' transaction," the paper states.

If implemented, the proposal could see major banks losing the accounts of government entities.

The ANC also wants to establish a state-owned publishing enterprise which will help with production and distribution of books to ensure their availability in all learning places.

The documents raise concerns that methods and practice of acquisition from the private sector plus distribution in government were neither cost-effective nor efficient.

The documents give more details about the plans to establish a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant that will see government producing medicine.

The ANC, however, acknowledges its plans can be sabotaged by a lack of skilled employes in the government.

"Good implementation will require that we build state capacity, establishing high standards of employment in the public service, raise levels of professionalism, discipline and a commitment to serve," the party said.

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