Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government Ministries yesterday welcomed a directive to procure vehicles from local car assemblers as part of measures to boost productivity and create employment in line with the economic blue print Zim-Asset.
Line ministries spoken to yesterday, said while they welcomed the directive, it was supposed to be complemented by the availability of the vehicles, financial and technical support from Treasury.
In a letter dispatched to all ministries, parastatals and state linked entities last week, Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, said the directive sought to support the local vehicle industry.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora yesterday said there was need to complement the policy directive with financial resources.
He said if that was not done, ministries and state entities would secure assistance from partners whose budget they would not have control over.
“I do not even have a budget to buy vehicles at the moment in the ministry. Sometimes we get vehicles from our partners, but then, we do not have control over their budgets and the products they buy. We have no problem with that directive, it requires our support. There are vehicles like Mazda BT50, which have become standard. We need to buy from local assemblers,” said Minister Dokora.
“There will be no challenges because it will create jobs. It will help our local industry in a big way,” he said.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, said her ministry had always supported local industry .
She said what was critical was to get financial support from Treasury.
“There is also need for clarification in respect of the policy. Does it relate to locally assembled vehicles or local dealers?
“Otherwise we do not have problems with the policy, we have been implementing it particularly when buying vehicles for our officials,” she said.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said his ministry welcomed the policy but one challenge that had been faced was the unavailability of vehicles on the local market.
“We welcome that directive, but our appeal is that it should be complemented by availability of the vehicles. The challenge has been that in some cases Willowvale (Mazda Motor Industries) or local car assemblers do not have the cars,” said Deputy Minister Ziyambi.
“It is a noble policy.
“Why should we buy from outside instead of our local assemblers, if they have the vehicles?”
In 2006, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries failed to supply about 400 vehicles that the Zimbabwe Republic Police had purchased.
The case spilled into Parliament as the portfolio committee on Home Affairs was keen to know what transpired.
Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa, said the policy required support from all Government ministries.
“It is quite a noble policy. Why not support it if it is Government policy? We have to implement it,” said Dr Gandawa.
Local assemblers are on the brink of collapse due to low volumes while millions of dollars are wired to foreign car firms annually.
In his letter, Mr Munodawafa referred Ministries to a Cabinet Circular 16 of 2011 issued out by the Office of the President and Cabinet making the same directive.
He requested figures of annual vehicles for each ministry to assist in proper planning for the next five years.
Local car assemblers have welcomed the directive, reiterating their past claims that they had the capacity to produce vehicles with any specifications that suited any type of contract of employment for individuals.