Cambridge AS A Level Business Studies/ ZIMSEC Advanced Level Business Studies/ Business Enterprise Skills Notes: Introduction To The Public Sector

  • As said in the introduction to business sectors
  • All business can generally be classified as either belonging to the public sector or private sector
  • A sector is simply a group of businesses that share certain common traits
  • The term public sector is used to refer to businesses that are owned by the government on behalf of the wider public
  • The term government here is meant to refer to
    • The national government as is common in most countries such as Zimbabwe
    • Regional, provincial and state governments as those that fall under a governorship or a state as in the United States, China or South Africa
    • Federal governments such as in the United States
    • Rural or Urban authorities such as municipalities
    • Similar local government authorities
  • The government manages the business which is normally called an organisation on behalf of the people of the geographical area
  • Typically such organisations are meant to primarily provide a service rather than make a profit
  • However, it is not uncommon for public sector businesses to be operated on a commercial business so as to lighten the tax burden and reliance upon public funding
  • Sometimes public organisations are meant to provide a strategic resource which would be impossible to provide any other way
  • For example defence forces and police services
  • At other times goods and services that are too significant and important are provided by the public sector as well
  • For example roads, education, electricity, transport, law and order, healthcare, energy and telecommunications
  • It is important to note that in some cases private sector businesses are in some countries and areas allowed to provide these services alongside/instead of the government but in such cases their activities are heavily regulated for the greater good
  • In Zimbabwe examples of public sector organisations include:
    • ZESA and its entities which provide electricity
    • ZUPCO which provides subsidised transport to the wider public
    • National Railways of Zimbabwe which provides rail and freight services
    • ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) which provides broadcasting services
    • Grain Marketing Board (GMB) which manages the country’s grain reserves
  • In some countries, public entities are controlled and run by a Minister (Cabinet Member) who is appointed by the president/Prime Minister
  • The Minister is regularly required to report the operations of the organisation in parliament which crafts general strategic direction of the organisation
  • Public sector businesses are financed by grants, tax proceeds, rates and other similar public sources of finance

To access more topics go to the Advanced Level Business Studies page

To access more topics go to the ZIMSEC Business Enterprise and Skills page

To access more topics go to the Cambridge AS A Level Business Studies page