27 September 2013
Influential voices in Zimbabwe’s construction industry are calling for protectionist laws to help struggling local firms compete against well-funded foreign ones, largely from China.
According to Zimbabwe newspaper, The Standard, local contractors have been driven out of business by Chinese firms, which are delivering most of the major construction projects now underway in the country.
The new National Defence College and the National Sports Stadium are among the facilities built by Chinese companies without participation from local firms, the newspaper said.
Former president of the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe, Daniel Garwe, has called on government to pass new laws to protect local firms.
Major construction projects in Zimbabwe are not being won by local firms (Wikimedia Commons)
"We should have laws in place stating that a certain percentage of work should be sub-contracted to locals or joint ventures set up," he said. "Under the circumstances, that is the only way we can grow as locals."
Zimbabwe is still recovering from a period of crippling hyperinflation and it faces a severe liquidity crisis as banks are reluctant to lend.
Albert Kadende of local firm Gazaf Building Contractors said companies are finding it difficult to access finance, which puts them at a disadvantage when competing with well-funded foreign firms.
"I think indigenisation should be fully applied in this regard, where foreign companies should become sub-contractors while local companies have access to major projects," he said.