Im­port bill drops by 27 per­cent

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

ZIM­BABWE’S im­port bill for the first seven months of the year has dropped by 21 per­cent due to a num­ber of fac­tors in­clud­ing pol­icy in­ter­ven­tions to restrict im­ports.

Lat­est fig­ures from the Zim­babwe Na­tional Statis­tics Agency (Zim­stat) show that Zim­babwe’s im­port bill has dropped to $2,89 bil­lion from $3,62 bil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod last year.

To­tal ex­ports dur­ing the pe­riod un­der re­view were at $1.3 bil­lion, drop­ping by 10.2 per­cent from $1.45 bil­lion in 2015.

The data fur­ther shows that on month-on-month, im­ports for July de­clined by 8,09 per­cent to $394,83 mil­lion from the June rate of $429,58 mil­lion.

Since the lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of the econ­omy in Fe­bru­ary 2009, Zim­babwe has been grap­pling to tame the high im­port bill as the coun­try con­tin­ued to en­counter the in­flux of im­ported prod­ucts.

The Gov­ern­ment has pro­mul­gated Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 of 2016, which seeks to re­move sev­eral goods from the Open Gen­eral Im­port Li­cence as a mea­sure to deal with the in­flux of im­ported prod­ucts.

SI 64/2016 re­stricts the im­por­ta­tion of cer­tain prod­ucts such as cof­fee creamer, cam­phor cream, white petroleum jel­lies, body lo­tions, builders’ ware like wheel bar­rows as well as iron or steel prod­ucts among oth­ers as the Gov­ern­ment feels lo­cal in­dus­try has ca­pac­ity to pro­duce them.

Ac­cord­ing to the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe In­dus­tries (CZI) 2015 man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor sur­vey re­port, ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion was at 34,3 per­cent due to a num­ber of fac­tors.

For ex­am­ple, the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor high­lighted in the re­port that the lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor was fail­ing to boost pro­duc­tion to com­pet­i­tive lev­els ow­ing to liq­uid­ity crunch as well as stiff com­pe­ti­tion from im­ported prod­ucts.

In­dus­try and Com­merce Deputy Min­is­ter Mrs Chi­ratidzo Mabuwa is on record say­ing im­porters’ com­pli­ance to the Con­sign­ment Based Con­form­ity As­sess­ment (CBCA) pro­gramme “sig­nif­i­cantly” in­creased to 58 per­cent in June.

CBCA was im­ple­mented on March 1, 2016 by the Gov­ern­ment through the Min­istry of In­dus­try and Com­merce as a mea­sure of curb­ing the in­flux of sub­stan­dard and haz­ardous goods in the coun­try as well as cre­at­ing a level play­ing field for lo­cal in­dus­try. — @okazunga

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