The construction sector has urged government to engage local contractors in its major construction projects to avoid the drainage of foreign currency through foreign tenders, according to Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) president, Ramson Nherera.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Speaking on the sidelines of a ZBCA Midlands region business dinner held in Gweru last Friday, Nherera said local contractors had enough capacity to complete construction projects, hence the need for government to give them the opportunity to do the work.
“If we invest in the local person, whatever he gets is spent locally,” Nherera said.
“I say so because we have also grown in capacity in the past years. For example, in Harare, we were doing 6km of road work per month, but now we are on 25km to 30km per month.
Foreign contractors who come here repatriate money back to their countries, but we want to partner government so that we become a player in bringing foreign currency to the country.”
Nherera also applauded the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya for establishing a $50 million finance facility to support the operations of the sector.
Announcing his mid-term monetary policy statement on Monday last week, Mangudya said the facility would be used for retooling the construction industry as well as meeting its working capital requirements.
“We are grateful to the government and the central bank for the $50 million loan facility which we are going to tap into for retooling purposes,” said Nherera.
ZBCA Midlands region president Tinashe Manzungu said the sustainability of the sector depended on timely completion of projects.
He urged dialogue between government and other stakeholders in an effort to come up with solutions to current price distortions, which he said had a negative impact on the operations of the construction sector.
“Nevertheless, we are happy with the relationship we have with government and the central bank. As ZBCA Midlands region, we are poised for growth,” Manzungu said.