Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has come up with a policy that will see it giving priority to local companies in all major projects in a bid to boost local empowerment.
The local authority has previously faced complications in dealing with companies headquartered outside the city, which saw them at one point losing US$303 000 they had paid as deposit in two separate deals for a fleet of ambulances and the installation of a tracking system to Harare-based briefcase companies.
Of late South African headquartered Tearracotta Private Limited is giving the local authority a tough time by continually pushing forward their set deadline for the completion of the Egodini bus terminus rehabilitation project. Previously, the local authority did not have a local empowerment policy.
According to a council confidential report, council has resolved to award mainly companies that have remained operating in the city despite the deindustrialisation that was experienced a few years back.
The policy will further see various vulnerable groups like women and youths benefiting from council projects.
“Furthermore, in the recent years there had been an outcry from the local community that investment opportunities were taken by outsiders. This brought about an issue of achieving economic development through empowering the local business community.
“Therefore, there was a need to develop a selection criteria or model that supports various empowerment policies in order to address the challenges in the allocation of resources. The model should incorporate characteristics or variables that would give a standard definition of a local person,” reads the report.
Council noted that coming up with set variables of defining a local person would ensure that locals benefit from the resource endowment from their communities.
The local authority further noted sustainable development of areas required that key stakeholders such as the local communities were involved in the development agenda of their localities and this enhances participation and commitment to the society, thereby addressing the socio-economic challenges prevailing in their areas.
“In Zimbabwe, the Government introduced the devolution programme to enable local or regional administration to make decisions in the economic development of their areas. This empowerment policy was meant to promote greater participation of local players in economic and investment decisions.
“On the other hand, the City of Bulawayo was also implementing socio-economic policies such as the recruitment of local students for attachments, and domestic preference for local suppliers. These policies were aimed at empowering the local community. World over, sustainable development was achieved through pursing local empowerment initiatives and local authorities were key in designing and implementing such initiatives,” reads the report.
According to the policy, the local authority will consider companies that, during the tender system for council projects score between 80 percent and 100 percent, where these applicants meet most aspects of the selection criteria.