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Leveraging Public Procurement to Boost Zimbabwe’s Economic Growth

In a pivotal move towards bolstering local industry and economic development, Dr. Thomas Utete Wushe, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, addressed key stakeholders at the Buy Zimbabwe public procurement conference held in Harare yesterday.

The conference, themed “Leveraging Public Procurement to Accelerate Zimbabwe’s Economic Development,” highlighted the government’s commitment to prioritizing local producers and suppliers.

Addressing delegates at the conference Dr. Wushe underscored the need to strengthen Zimbabwe’s manufacturing base, outlining a vision where local companies with validated local content would be given preference in government and local authority tenders.

“It is always about collaboration, so through our ministry, we are supporting and leading what we call engagement and re-engagement processes with business,” he said.

He urged the private sector to support the country’s industrialization drive by building capacity in critical sectors.

“As Government, we urge the private sector to support the industrialisation drive by building capacity in cotton, pharmaceuticals, leather, soya, sugar, and lithium.” Dr. Wushe said

The conference theme, focusing on public procurement, aligns with regional trends where countries in Southern Africa have initiated similar efforts to boost their economies by promoting locally manufactured products.

“These efforts are aligned to what other countries in the Southern African region have done through various initiatives to support the procurement of locally manufactured products and promote economic growth in their respective countries,” Dr. Wushe added.

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Addressing inefficiencies in the public procurement process, Dr. Wushe issued a stern warning against complacency.

“The Government will no longer tolerate failure to implement projects and initiatives due to a lethargic public procurement process,” he declared.

He urged the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to intensify efforts to ensure public procurement supports the national developmental agenda, ensuring inclusivity and broad participation from various local stakeholders.

Buy Zimbabwe chairman Mr. Munyaradzi Hwengwere, echoed the same sentiments, stressing the importance of increasing local content in public procurement.

“We need to have a minimum of 50 percent or aspire sometimes to 80 percent or more. We have put in the right infrastructure, but unfortunately, when you are doing the job, you are importing the equipment; you are importing everything. Now we need to deal with the details so that it accelerates economic growth,” he said.

The conference concluded with a call to action for all sectors to contribute towards a vibrant, self-sustaining economy.

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