By Tatenda Mujeyi
Supply and procurement deals by the public sector should be given to local companies so as to spur economic growth.
The remarks were universally echoed by speakers, including the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Raj Modi, at the National procurement Conference underway at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare.
The Conference is an annual event that strives to calculate the gains of local producers in accessing markets and strengthening local production and consumption patterns.
Local companies urged government to consider them in the procurement process as this could improve their contribution to economic growth.
“We have a fair chance in supplying the market and the government needs to support us to fully realise that the local producers can also grow” CEO of Trust Security, a Dr Mubhango said at the event.
Local producers called for the alignment of procurement laws and standards so as to allow for the universality of standards to allow local SMEs compliance.
The challenge is in variant expectations from the same government where one ministry can have requirements that are unattainable for the local suppliers.
“We are faced with many challenges and some include the bureaucratic requisites of government at times, imagine a tender requiring the same product yet the variant ministries have separate request.”
Local Products also require support so as to allow for the retainment of the taxable base and in turn contributing to economic growth
“The tax base grows when we produce locally. The more raw products we export, the more labour, beneficiation value we lose on the value chain of exported product,” Faith Mazanhi, the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
Local companies deserve support in the classification to international standards as advocated by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe. Secretary for Enterprise Reform and Corporate Governance in the President’s Office, Mr Willard Manungo said at the event.
“There is need for articulate industrial practice by local firms in facilitating that their products meet international and regional standards to foster for safety and compliance,” Mr. Manungo said.
This year’s conference was held in conjunction with the launch of the Procurement Index under the theme: “Opportunities and Challenges for local industry in participating in public procurement.”
Local companies were urged to adopt efficient and sustainable product development standards as well as competitive pricing strategies.
“Pricing is a central area of concern as you at times see local companies pricing their products ten times more than the international competitors’ price, under which circumstances we can not consider local suppliers,” Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe CEO Nyasha Chizu said.
The launch of the Procurement index stands central in the qualification of data on the local industries contributions on the annual procurement processes.