By Kuda Chideme, HARARE, April 4 (The Source) – Local makers of buses and trucks on Monday said government’s reluctance to procure vehicles locally was crippling the country’s motor industry.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee on transport and infrastructure development on Monday, Deven Engineering managing director, Patrick Munyaradzi who was speaking on behalf of the motor industry said government departments were ignoring a 2011 directive compelling them to procure vehicles locally.
In 2011 government directed that all ministries, parastatals and public institutions purchase at least 80 percent of their vehicles from local assemblers.
“There is a government directive for purchasing from local dealers but we have not yet benefited from that, if we have its very little,” he said.
“Let us make sure the directive is adhered to and build capacity from there.”
Two other manufacturers, Quest Motors and AVM Africa were present in the hearing.
In January this year, the local government ministry placed an order for 680 vehicles and spare parts worth $50 million with Indian car manufacturer Ashok Leyland.
The order follows one of the same value placed by the tourism ministry with the same car manufacturer in May 2014 which was said to be a suppliers’ credit facility financed by India’s Export Import Bank and payable over a period of up to 20 years.
Last year, Zimbabwe’s defence forces took delivery of over 600 vehicles, including trucks and buses, manufactured by Ashok Leyland, under similar terms.
Munyaradzi also made an appeal for an increase in duty levied on imports of buses and trucks to protect the ailing local industry.
Munyaradzi said the revival of the country’s steel industry would go a long way to help revive the sector which now depends on importing all material used in the manufacturing process.