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Dedollarisation derails Potraz projects

MUTARE– The move by government to revert from the multicurrency regime to local currency has had a debilitating effect on the Postal and Telecommunications Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), its officials said.

POTRAZ director general Dr Gift Machengete said due to hyper inflationary fluctuations, suppliers failed to deliver goods and services, while most projects were revaluated upwards.

Dr Machengete made these remarks at POTRAZ strategic planning workshop where the regulator was urged to embrace innovation, to stay ahead of the technological trends dictating changes in the sector.

He said this has been compounded by the effects of the Corona virus induced lockdown, where business came to a virtual standstill.

“Economically, 2020 has been quite challenging as the transition from USD to ZWL as the main trading currency came with a myriad of challenges.

“Tenders constantly required upward variations, which were at times difficult to implement due to procurement regulation restrictions.

“Some suppliers actually refused to supply altogether demanding payment in foreign currency. Due to such tender complications some projects stalled thereby affecting our performance targets for the year,” said Dr Machengete.

He added that, “The pandemic almost brought work to a halt at one point during the initial total lockdown period and most certainly affected routine work during the subsequent lock downs which had eased restrictions.”

Dr Machengete said the regulator can keep in touch with the dynamic sector through innovation and convergence of regulation to effectively police the industry.

“Our fast changing environment, characterized by uncertainty and sure change, therefore, demands that we keep on our toes – not at par with the changes but ahead of the changes.

“There is also need for the regulatory space to promote competition through creating an enabling environment for growth of existing players as well as introduction of new players,” he said.

Addressing the same occasion Minister of ICT, Postal & Courier Services, Hon. Dr James Muswere urged players in the sector to adapt to keep abreast of rapid changes in technology.

He said government was committed to playing its oversight role as well as providing a forward looking and adaptable policy environment for the ICT sector

“The ICT sector forms one of the major pillars in stimulating economic growth and development towards achievement of vision 2030

 

“Given the rapid changes that are now a permanent feature in the technological space, regulating the ICT sector has become a menacing challenge to all involved.

“The world of big data, internet of things and artificial intelligence, among other emerging technologies, flows so fast that, if regulatory practices are not constantly reviewed, instead of creating an enabling environment, the Regulator can become the bottleneck,” he said.

The Government is undergoing economic reforms and is transitioning from the austerity measures of the Transitional Stabilization Plan (TSP) to the National Development Strategy (NDS1) running from 2021-2025.

Ministries and departments are requested to align programs to the NDS which runs from, making reference to its subsectors and leverlaging links for sustainable growths, said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Dr Engineer Sam Kundishora

“We need to improve access and enhance usage of the digital platforms. Government is undergoing reforms and we are required to align our programs to the NDS which runs from 2021- 2025, our plans must make reference to the expectations of this strategy,” he said.

 

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