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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Public procurement benefits for women

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

THE drive to promote women empowerment is gathering momentum with affirmative procurement expected to lay a strong foundation for the promotion and growth of female-run businesses in the country.

Zimbabwe continues to make positive strides towards gender equality with the procurement sector not being left behind.

Women in the construction sector, who attended a conference organised by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) in Nyanga this Tuesday, stressed the importance of affirmative procurement and the positive developments taking place within the sector.

“Women owned businesses also need to get these contracts. We applaud the current government for taking a drive to include minority groups and women are also a minority group in this economy. We want to thank the government for opening up avenues for us to carry out these massive projects taking place around the country. As women in the construction industry we assure you that we will deliver quality products,” said a participant.

Another said, “As women, we are now empowered to work harder and to progress. We want to start our business outside our own professions. We know that we are being given an opportunity to supply products and services as women and SMEs and we hope to do better in society.

“We would also want to applaud the government for promoting affirmative action were they are supporting women in the construction industry. As a contractor I am very happy with the way things are being done by PRAZ in conjunction with the government. We hope see more visibility of women in the construction industry,” said yet another.

Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe CEO, Mr Clever Ruswa says the law supports affirmative procurement in line with the national vision on women empowerment.

“In terms of our public procurement law, there are issues also to do with domestic preferences, where we are also saying women owned businesses should be supported as part of our national vision. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act Chapter 29 speaks specifically to domestic preferencing. Section 8 of the same regulations speaks to supporting women in business.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is set to take over the presidency of the Africa Public Procurement Network next year.

“We recognise that we are part of the continental block known as Africa Public Procurement Network. Currently the presidency is with Rwanda and the arrangements are such that next year 2025, Zimbabwe will take over the presidency,” added Ruswa.

Meanwhile, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, which launched the electronic government procurement system, is also in the process of crafting Affirmative Procurement guidelines to empower previously marginalised groups such as women.

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