Tsvangirai directs SPB to give tenders to locals

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has slammed the State Procurement Board (SPB) for awarding lucrative tenders to foreign companies at the expense of local companies.

Speaking at the official opening of the E-Tech Expo in the capital on Thursday, Tsvangirai expressed disappointment in the SPB querying the criteria used in awarding tenders.

“I am alarmed that the board is sabotaging locally produced goods. Their stance is frustrating efforts to revive the economy,” Tsvangirai said.

The premier said the board must help in economic development by awarding tenders to local companies as well.

This comes at a time when economic empowerment groups are urging government to expedite the crafting of a policy to compel the SPB to award tenders to Zimbabweans who have the capacity.

The MDC leader accused SPB of stalling economic development by awarding lucrative tenders to foreign companies rejecting local ones.

An official at the SPB who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that locals usually lost the bids.

“Look at the tenders for the construction of first generation capacity stations at the Kariba South Thermal Station, Sino Hydro, a company with a Chinese backing is the only company that bid for the tender, there is no way we can do the bidding for them, we only award tenders,” the SPB representative said.

The SPB awarded a South African company a tender to supply Zesa Holdings with about three million energy saver bulbs.

Affirmative Action Group (AAG) Harare province chairperson Liberty Bizure said there was need for government to urgently move in to stop the SPB from frustrating indigenisation.

“The procurement policy would be the best tool to stop foreigners from being awarded tenders.

“We are not surprised because we know there are others in Cabinet who don’t support indigenisation and the people in SPB follow them,” Bizure said.

He added that there is need for the SPB to consult empowerment pressure groups before awarding tenders so that they make their input.

Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere is on record promising a statutory instrument on tender procurement that will compel the SPB to give first preference to local firms when awarding tenders.

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