'Impose ban on textile imports'

HARARE - Buy Zimbabwe is lobbying government to impose a ban on textile imports.

The lobby group is working with the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association (ZCMA) to lobby government to enforce the textile import ban.

This comes as ZCMA recently appeared before a parliamentary portfolio committee lamenting the state of the textile industry, whose poor performance they attributed to “cheap imports from China and secondhand clothes from Mozambique”.

At the moment, Zimbabwe is importing at least $300 million in clothing textiles each year, according to trade figures.

The ZMCA says the textiles industry requires a cocktail of short-term measures for industrial revival.

Among them is a reduction in duty on raw materials and spare parts to at least 10 percent, and a corresponding increase on duty on imported ready-made garments to about 65 percent.

“At the moment we are working with the ZCMA and government so that an import ban on all textile products can be introduced,” Alois Burutsa, Buy Zimbabwe’s operations manager told the Daily News.

“As you know, most textile industries have been forced into shutting down because of the influx of cheap imports.

“As Buy Zimbabwe, we are saying if given the chance, the local industry can be revived but these cheap imports are preventing that.”

Burutsa urged locals to boycott all imported goods saying they were preventing industrial revival.

“We are not advocating for a blind boycott, Zimbabwe has a lot of quality products and all we are asking the locals is for them to support local industry,” he said.

“Zimbabweans should sacrifice the luxuries of imported goods and help industry recuperate. Zimbabwean companies are not charity cases, all they want are orders and everything will be okay.”

Buy Zimbabwe said it was thrilled government has finally awarded “an overdue” temporary import ban on all fresh produce imports, and urged locals to boycott all imported products.

This comes as Zimbabwe last month banned imports of fresh fruit and vegetables, arguing that increased local production will meet domestic demand.

The economy continues to perform poorly, with the manufacturing sector still shedding jobs and unemployment estimated at 80 percent.

However, the real level of unemployment is almost impossible to gauge as countless Zimbabweans are making a living in the informal sector.

The high cost of manufacturing in Zimbabwe means that some local goods are more expensive than imported ones, and industry players fear that without more government support, the manufacturing sector would keep shrinking.

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