Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE prevailing foreign currency shortage is hampering operations at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC) laboratory resulting in crucial tests being delayed.
The centre offers DNA profiling that saw it being engaged by the police last week to help in the identification of 21 bodies that were burnt beyond recognition following a road accident in the Midlands province on Wednesday last week.
Officials at the laboratory said it will take them about two weeks for them to complete the identification process for the accident victims who were burnt beyond recognition when a South Africa-bound Proliner Bus sideswiped with a haulage truck and caught fire in Chirumanzu.
In an interview with The Chronicle, Nust’s director of communication and marketing Mr Felix Moyo said the university can be of better service to the country if hurdles they face are cleared by relevant authorities.
He appealed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the State Procurement Board (SPB) to prioritise their applications as foreign currency shortages and the slow procurement process were delaying their work.
“We wish that we could get the requisite support for our DNA lab so that we can even be more self-sufficient and solve bigger national challenges through the lab. At the moment there are challenges we are experiencing in accessing foreign currency,” he said.
“If the RBZ could consider our applications for forex with a more sympathetic ear because our work is not just for the university as a research institution but we are also helping to solve national problems.”
Mr Moyo said the SPB was not making their job easier.
“When we want chemicals from outside the country, equipment and other expendables, they are delays due to the SPB requirements. We request that this bureaucracy be shortened,” he said.
Mr Moyo said once the lab had all that it needs, it will be able to play a bigger role in finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the nation.