‘Engage local firms to save forex’

Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Priority in public procurement tenders must be awarded to local companies ahead of foreign contractors to boost local industry as well as save foreign currency, according to Finance and Economic Development Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga.

He, however, said this should be done according to regulations governing procurement processes as well as international best practice.

Mr Guvamatanga said contracting of foreign firms should only be done in the event where local contractors cannot provide the required services.

Engagement of local contractors enhances economic activity, boosts job creation across value chains while propelling the country’s Vision 2030 goals of becoming an upper middle-class economy.

“As part of the economic development plan, engagement of external contractors should be done in cases where there is no local capacity and expertise, that way reducing foreign currency exposure,” he said during a Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) workshop in the capital yesterday.

Mr Guvamatanga highlighted the need to engage local contractors where applicable as part of measures to preserve foreign currency given the current shortages that have had a knock-on effect on the economy, especially the manufacturing industry.

In the event of an external contractors being engaged, Mr Guvamatanga said, the contract should be scrutinised to ensure value for money while also considering the participation of locals as sub-contractors.

“This is a very important issue from a Treasury perspective on the engagement of external contractors,” he said adding, timelines was also crucial in the implementation of projects to save public resources.

The PRAZ workshop was to review of the public procurement process, nearly a year after the Public Procurment Act was operationalised on January 1, 2018.

Speaking to The Herald Business on the sidelines of the workshop, PRAZ chief executive Nyasha Chuzu, said procurement was crucial in propelling economic development. He added the new procurement procedures were meant to ensure transparency, accountability as well as cost effectiveness and achieve value for money across value chains.

The old system, he said, was open to malpractice and poor corporate governance. Prior January this year, procurement was the responsibility of the dissolved State Procurement Board (SPB). SPB played the role of a regulator and operator simultaneously therefore leaving room for lack of accountability and transparency, which has been addressed by the new law.

“The new Act is specific in the sense that our procurement needs is to achieve value for money as we move towards achieving Vision 2030.

“This ensures public resources are utilised efficiently to achieve value for money,” he said.

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