Ngqwele Dube, Business Correspondent
THE Affirmative Action Group has taken a swipe at OK Zimbabwe for hiring companies based outside Bulawayo to renovate and refurbish their flagship store in the city.
OK Jason Moyo branch is undergoing expansion after it swooped on space next to it along Jason Moyo Street which had been formerly occupied by a restaurant, Food Express. AAG Matabeleland chapter president, Reginald Shoko said they were perturbed by OK’s actions as local businesses should benefit from whatever developments would be happening locally.
“If as local businesses we don’t support each other then where are we going to get the jobs from? We don’t think the renovations taking place at OK are complicated that you would need special skills or equipment which is not available in Bulawayo.
“Why rush to give Harare-based companies those tenders or contracts when we have able entities in Bulawayo. The city’s residents are giving business to OK by buying at their shops but they don’t want to reciprocate and also support local business but instead they are taking the money they make here and prefer to spend it on Harare entities, which is illogical,” he said, adding they had received a complaint from local entities.
Shoko said if the trend is not reversed they would be forced to engage the residents and urge them to boycott such businesses.
“What makes it worse is that after failing to give local business people jobs to renovate they are taking old installations to Harare to auction them there instead of doing that here so that these guys can refurbish them and sell, that is in the case of fridges,” he said.
Shoko said the tendency to sideline local businesses was widespread and saddening. He said in some instances the Harare-based companies would sub-contract local business to do the jobs, a sign that Bulawayo entities have the capacity to complete the jobs. Shoko said the mindset should change if Bulawayo was to rise from its economic slumber.
Local businessman, Carlos Tavengwa, who runs a refrigeration repairs company, said it was frustrating that they have to continually watch on the sidelines and give way to Harare companies when they have invested in skills and machinery to do good jobs.
“We are being frustrated by such actions to sideline us from earning jobs. Logically it is expensive for a Harare-based firm to come here and do jobs because they charge transport and there is the added cost of accommodation so it beats us why companies keep contracting companies based in Harare.”
An official at OK Jason Moyo said decisions on who to hire for refurbishment contracts are made in Harare and referred this reporter to OK Zimbabwe’s marketing manager, Tendai Makomva who was however, unreachable for comment.