'Emulate Univern's world-class innovation'

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sentiments about the superiority of the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara)’s working relationship with Univern Enterprises (Private) Limited (Univern) have virtually affirmed the deal as one of the best private-public sector partnerships in the country.

This also comes amid clear indications that the Harare-based technology firm’s tollgate, vehicle licensing and transport management solutions have not only helped various departments to increase revenue, and bring about efficiency, but falls within the purview of government’s 100-day plan on improving the ease of doing business and convenience in public sector delivery of services.

“I did not know we had such technologies in Zimbabwe and… I think we are at the top of the ladder in terms of modernity of the technology we have. That is the way to go and… where we are going,” Mnangagwa said, adding it was only through such innovative solutions as Univern’s that the country could experience radical economic growth and transformation into a middle-income nation by 2030.

“And the potential is such that it is possible… if everybody realises they have a role to play (in nation building) because it is good for everybody. You have a backup system; we have boys and girls (monitoring) various centres throughout the country so that problems... are attended to without delay. It is fantastic. I wish you success, more innovation and introduction of ICT products. Those with talent must be rewarded,” he said after a recent tour of Univern’s Workington premises and where he also somehow suggested his ministers, and top bureaucrats were shielding him from such developments.

For a company that also specialises in agricultural and construction equipment supply, Univern made its first mark in 2005 when it inked a car registration plate-production deal with the Central Vehicle Registry and it has been managing about 17 of Zinara’s toll plazas since six years ago.

Under this groundbreaking arrangement, the parastatal has experienced a 100 percent growth in revenues and real-time access or review of operations at these key facilities.

About early last year, the pioneering Southern Region Trading Company was also contracted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police to provide a high-tech electronic traffic management system.

Phil Mushosho, the company’s chief executive, said they were not only elated about the president’s appreciation of the private sector’s contribution to the economy, but they would also continue innovating – through a range of ICT systems – to help clients and business partners combat graft, boost revenues and ensure compliance with the country’s laws, and developmental aspirations.

“…it has always been our desire for government to know what can do (or offer) and demonstrate what public partnership can achieve. We have a number of systems that have helped… raise revenue by plugging loopholes and bringing in efficiencies,” he said.

“We believe in Zimbabwe and… (the) latest, and best technology to improve the way we do things. So, we intend to bring in the best… in terms of agricultural innovation and precision farming,” Mushosho said, adding their systems were fully integrated “to allow cross functions, pollination of ideas, skills and technological transfer”.

While emphasising on concerted efforts to overturn years of stagnation and underdevelopment, Mnangagwa also said Harare could catch up with its regional peers through an aggressive realignment of its policies and implementation of critical projects.

The pro-business Zimbabwean leader not only said he was “pleasantly surprised at Univern’s cutting edge technology”, but the “older generation must create the environment or climate for the younger ones to thrive”.

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