Govt measures fail to stem imports tide – CZI chief

Govt measures fail to stem imports tide – CZI chief

BULAWAYO, Nov 18 (The Source) — Government has failed to stem the tide of imports despite a raft of measures to restrict the flow of foreign goods, leaving local industry on the brink, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has said.

In July’s Mid-Term Fiscal Review, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a cocktail of measures to protect local industry which include a ban on second hand clothes and the scrapping of rebate on imported basic goods that can be produced locally from August 1 and raised duty on several products.

But CZI president Busisa Moyo told The Source on Wednesday that business environment for the past nine months was subdued due to economic slowdown and continued importation of goods, with capacity utilisation falling from 36, 5 percent to 34, 3 percent.

“We are still seeing a lot of imported, smuggled and sub-standard goods being smuggled into the country and this depresses domestic circulation of money,” said Moyo.

He, however, said there were sectors that are operating above 60 percent of capacity but many were averaging below 20 percent of capability.

Poor international prices had hit mining hard, affecting export earnings and money circulating in the local economy, Moyo said.

“The mining sector which accounts for over 50 percent of exports is facing challenges as global prices have crashed. The weakening rand also means that Diaspora inflows are fetching less in dollar terms,” he added.

In the Mid-Term Fiscal Review, Chinamasa also increased surtax on imported second hand vehicles of five years and older to 35 percent from 25 percent in a bid to protect local car assemblers and contain the growing import bill.