Editorials

Don't rush the privatisation of state corporations

President Ruto

President William Ruto's administration has sought to amplify the old song about the privatisation of ailing State companies. PHOTO | POOL

The new administration of President William Ruto has sought to amplify the old song about the privatisation of ailing State companies but without demonstrating how it hopes to succeed where others failed.

Treasury Principal Secretary nominee Chris Kiptoo, perhaps reading from the President’s plan to offload non-performing parastatals, told Parliament that 18 such firms have already been identified.

ALSO READ: State to ‘fast-track sale of 18 ailing parastatals’

Among them, Dr Ruto wants between six and 10 listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange through an initial public offering.

That is all grande, but isn’t the new government getting ahead of reality? The urgency with taxpayers should be relieved the burden of sustaining these companies cannot be gainsaid.

Every year they gobble billions of shillings that would otherwise go to worthy causes. Nonetheless rushing without a proper plan will only get the government stuck in the same muddle that past administrations found themselves.

If the State is to succeed, it should first start by getting political goodwill from all stakeholders that have in the past seen the process tied in endless court cases.

ALSO READ: EDITORIAL: Choose parastatals to list on NSE wisely

Secondly, the state of the financials of these corporations is anyone’s guess with most failing to regularly publish audit reports.

A proper forensic audit should give prospective investors a clear picture of what is on offer. There can be no shortcuts in this big privatisation project.