Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
THE Government is concerned with Zimbabweans who disguise themselves as company owners to win State tenders while being used by foreigners as fronts. The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo, said locals who are being used as fronts by foreigners are defeating the Government’s empowerment initiatives. He said Government has observed with concern that a lot of people pose as business owners to win multimillion-dollar Government tenders yet they hand them over to foreigners.
“There are projects where we say 40 percent of our locals should participate in. We want to see Zimbabweans benefiting from the 40 percent of the value of the project. For instance on the Beitbridge-Chirundu road, we made a reinforcement that our people should benefit from the project,” he said.
“But most of the times I’ve seen locals coming to apply for tenders and when we look behind them we find that there is somebody who is not a Zimbabwean running the show. Locals are only being used as the face of companies because they are Zimbabweans.” The minister said Government was aware that some individuals purporting to own companies for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway project were fronting foreign nationals.
Dr Gumbo said Government wants to empower locals hence they must be eager to take control of the economy. The minister said genuine businesspeople should apply for tenders. “I will then give them the contract, but I won’t be empowering them as the President wants us to empower our locals. We will be empowering the person that is at the back who is not Zimbabwean. That is my concern,” said Dr Gumbo.
“My word to Zimbabweans is that when we are doing these projects, not only in the Ministry of Transport and when negotiations are made where a portion should be given to our locals, let our people get ready to take up these jobs as locals not as front man for people from outside the country. “We would not have empowered you if we do that.”