Women in business have been urged to grab opportunities in local public procurement which has been a male dominated space for ages.
Speaking at the CEO Africa Roundtable public procurement forum for women in Harare, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PRAZ) board chair Vimbai Nyemba said women are up to the task to supply goods and services to government but were traditionally excluded from business.
“There are a lot of challenges which are hindering women participation which includes lack of training and understanding procurement systems. Having women participating in local procurement will bring inclusive development,” said Nyemba.
Public procurement is a lucrative market for private sector growth, particularly the emerging entrepreneurs who stand to benefit from demand for supply of goods and services by government.
World over, governments are the biggest spenders of goods and service.
The World Bank says public procurement constitute between 13 percent and 20 percent of global Gross Domestic Product.
Currently, the road rehabilitation program being undertaken by the government has presented lucrative business for local companies.
“Procurement beats access to finance,” said CEO ART chief executive director, Kipson Gundani.
“We tend to focus on providing access to finance which if carefully examined it yields better results for government to consume what is supplied by its people. We want to see more women suppliers in the public market.”
Government on its part has reviewed the percentage domestic preference for women in procurement from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. This means that if a woman-owned business invoices a tender amounting to $ 100.00 yet there is a man-owned business whose invoice amounts to $ 95.00; PRAZ will favor the $ 100.00 invoice by a woman-owned entity.
However the policy remains subject to ambiguity as to what constitutes a woman-owned business.
“There is need to clarify what a woman-owned business is. Do we look at the shareholding structure or the number of female employees in an organization,” said Nyemba.