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A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RTX2CZDI

Zimbabwe, which is facing serious foreign currency shortages, has called on local firms to prioritize local ahead of foreign firms when awarding contracts to preserve the scarce money.

However, this should be done according to regulations governing procurement processes as well as international best practice, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance George Guvamatanga said.

He was quoted by the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Tuesday as saying that the engagement of local contractors enhances economic activity, boosts job creation and propels the country’s goal of becoming an upper middle class economy by 2030.

“As part of the economic development plan, engagement of external contractors should be done in cases where there is no local capacity and expertise, that way reducing foreign currency exposure,”
Guvamatanga said.

He said in the event of an external contractor being engaged, the contract should be scrutinized to ensure value for money while also considering the participation of locals as sub-contractors.

Zimbabwe is facing an acute shortage of foreign currency which has affected importation of critical products such as fuel and medical drugs.

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