Technopreneurs are calling for government to expedite the local procurement policy that forces government departments and companies to buy IT solutions made by Zimbabweans as they feel this will motivate them to do more.
This comes at a time when government is working on a 30 percent quota system to force local companies to procure local innovations.
Speaking after the Computer Society of Zimbabwe’s event dubbed ‘E-Health : The Zimbabwean Perspective, Health 263 founder Isaack Manitho told TechnoMag they could do more if motivated by government support. Health 263 is a local company that provides health related IT solutions.
“What we are talking about as young entrepreneurs is that we could do a lot if government would assist us in lobbying and putting laws in place that allow even local companies to buy technologies in the country rather than importing.
“There is this SI instrument which is saying we have to produce and buy local. Can this be spread to local technologies and software.
“We have the brains. We have institutions which are training development in IT, technology and all that,”he said.
“Can government put those people to good use before we import technology? I am a technopreneur who believes that with enough government clout, with enough government backing we can grow the tech industry in the country,” he said.
He noted that the mentality of Zimbabweans preferring foreign Health IT solutions to local should be changed.
“In terms of pricing, we have this problem to say this product is run by HP , a client is happy to pay $100. But if it’s sold by Health 263 they won’t go over $20. But I think that’s a mentality complex that we need to change and get understand and appreciate our own.
“Especially it works. We are not saying buy something that doesn’t work. Compare, I think the procurement law says get three quotations, get them first tested. If you believe that our system is better, I think its worthwhile paying the price you have been asked to pay,” said Manitho.
“It’s a problem that I have experienced in the past 17years. I think it’s one thing that we must realise that if we look at experience and knowledge it does not matter whether you are in Zimbabwe whether you are in America. Because the value of what’s there is valuable.
My business has been more than 17 countries. It is quite competitive,” he said.
The contributor went on to say, “And the only benefit is that we are hiring your children. Your children when they finish university they have no jobs. If we do not promote us, we can’t hire them. And we end up moving our business to other countries where our skills are recognised.
“One of the things we must realise is that when we take this money to HP it’s gone, it’s not coming. But if you bring it here, we contribute to our national economy.”
He gave an example of Microsoft founder Bill Gates who rose to prominence through government support.
“If Bill Gates did not get some contracts in Government, he will not be heard. What we need is a deliberate initiative by government and people of Zimbabwe to promote their own. So they can be big as Microsoft and all that,” said the contributor.
Meanwhile, Government through the Ministry of Health and Childcare is rolling out the Electronic Health Records System in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe at clinic and district level as a way of doing away with paper. This was said by ZimHISP’s head Hentry Chidawanyika.
“The plan is we started with one clinic to develop the framework and it was working we started testing in other clinics to see how well that clinic fits in to the bigger scheme of things. We are done with clinics now.
“We have moved at district hospitals now and the district hospital is running on this system now and we are cross matching what we got from the clinics to see what we got from the district. And the district level is working as we speak now,” he said.