Import bill drops by 27 percent
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