$2 Chinese wheelbarrows prompted imports ban

MUTARE - Government was forced to impose restrictions on imports of basic goods after discovering a Chinese wheelbarrow arriving at the border at $1,98, a government official has claimed.

Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa told a Buy Zimbabwe traders summit that the some goods were landing at the border at ridiculously low prices that calculating duty on them would not make their prices competitive

Shonhiwa said wheelbarrows were arriving at the border at $1,98, forcing government to demand special permission in the importation of selected products.

“A look at what has been coming in has been a revelation of what is coming in, it’s not only the quantity of goods that are coming in, but also how much these items per unit are landing at our border before duty,” she said.

“I tell you, I saw an invoice for a wheelbarrow for $1,98, $1,98 for a wheelbarrow huh? This is the kind of thing that we are dealing with. The other prices are ridiculous, how do you compete with that?

“How do you compete with a wheelbarrow that is $2 or that is $5?”

This comes as government said on June 17 it was suspending imports of products including bottled water, furniture, building materials, steel products, cereals, potato crisps and dairy products, most of which arrive via South Africa.

Shonhiwa said government was now evaluating what would work better for the country between tariff increases and import restrictions.

“I know there has been an argument that why don’t we use increased tariffs. I think you also know that at almost every budget, we have increased tariffs, so whilst we measure their effectiveness and how easy it is to police them, we are also looking at trying to control movement of goods quantitatively,” she said.

Shonhiwa said special clearances for the importation of the restricted commodities would also help appraise government on who is importing what and in what quantities.

She said ultimately, government was intent on stopping the country from being a total retail economy by giving policy space to industry to start manufacturing and stop US dollar flight.

“We have been using this tool (import restrictions) over a period of time with the aim of giving policy space to local manufacturers,” Shonhiwa said.

She said the country was also particularly being targeted by other countries because it was trading with hard currency, which is a much sought-after reserve currency by most countries.

“In the final analysis, goods are being brought to Zimbabwe to get the green back. That is a fact,” Shonhiwa said.

Comments (9)

But the same people said let's look east. Amazing isn't it

Common - 12 July 2016

look east was a bad idea, engaging is easy but backing out is not, Zim needs to build now fast and invest in agric and mining using the cheapest resources available.

#tirkumberi - 12 July 2016

"The Chinese are our all weather friends" They will not destroy our economy so says the OLD MAN. Is it true absolutely NO

paradzayi - 12 July 2016

its not new; chikens arrive from Brasil via SA at riculously low prices and poor zimbos feast on the GMO braais at Mutangaz & Mereki in the name of ''kutamba purezha'' more often to succemb to illnesses never seen on the face of this country! these wheelbarrows wont deliver a single load of brick/motter! rambai makashinga.

SaManyika Chaiye - 13 July 2016

whats wrong with a US$ wheel barrow? Is it the price or the quality? Or the fear of price competition? Domestic Market Protectionism for the sake of competition and profitability alone is not good for living standards of the citizens of a country. There are communities without hope of owning wheel barrows . Whats wrong with selling them a US$2 wheel barrow? If we cant look east, we better stop looking anywhere at all. Coz we stupid! Simple.Don't know what we want.

shame - 13 July 2016

whats wrong with a US$ wheel barrow? Is it the price or the quality? Or the fear of price competition? Domestic Market Protectionism for the sake of competition and profitability alone is not good for living standards of the citizens of a country. There are communities without hope of owning wheel barrows . Whats wrong with selling them a US$2 wheel barrow? If we cant look east, we better stop looking anywhere at all. Coz we stupid! Simple.Don't know what we want.

shame - 13 July 2016

So you came up with a whole statutory instrument because of one invoice line? Sounds dubious to me that a wheelbarrow can cost 2.00.

Zimba - 13 July 2016

So from landing at $2 ,what kind of calculation that makes it $30 in shops?

viola gwena - 13 July 2016

The calibre of those we taxpayers employ is all coming out now. Do we not have a Standards Association? How active are they in all this? Didn't the "look east" policy come from this same govt? Officials are displaying a penny-wise pound-foolish mentality. $15 bn cannot be accounted for and they risk damaging riots over $2. How did they become employed in these positions?

Sagitarr - 14 July 2016

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