By Gracious Nyathi

Bulawayo City Council has cited the laws which require the engagement and approval of potential partners by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) as a hinderance to its progress in making business partnerships.

Bulawayo Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, revealed this during a recent discussion.

“Partnerships are governed by the ZIDA Act, when we are happy with a proposal, we approach it for a resolution.

“As council, we have no authority and we can’t conclude deals but we can merely recommend to ZIDA, who then take it to Cabinet for approval,” Dube said.

Moreover, applications for partnerships have to be done through ZIDA before any engagements and work commence.

“The ZIDA has a section which identifies proposals as unsolicited bids if companies come seeking business partnerships without solicitation.

“Even if the business that a company wants to do with us is necessary, we can not make a decision because as council we are powerless,” he said.

The Town Clerk highlighted that the mandatory need for ZIDA’s approval is time consuming and leads to loss of business and massive delays through the application process.

“The process puts off a lot of people because it takes too long and requires lots of patience, but what else can we do?

“As council, we do not have absolute authority over certain issues,” he added.

ZIDA has already stalled BCC’s solar projects by delaying approvals for prospective contractors and partners.

BCC intends to embark on a scheme to introduce solar farms to mitigate against Bulawayo’s power outages.

Earlier this year nine companies were reportedly vying for partnership with BCC in the solar project but ZIDA delayed with responses and the project failed to take-off.

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