Imports ban review on cards

HARARE - Industry minister Mike Bimha says government is in the process of reviewing items on Zimbabwe’s import restrictions list with the view of adding or removing some, as the country moves to monitor import influx.

Bimha, who last year imposed restrictions for locally available imports under Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 (SI64), said the list was flexible with government working with an evaluation and assessment committee tasked with looking into the legislation’s impact.

“What we have always said is that the list will constantly be reviewed with guidance from a committee led by Mike Nyabadza.
“The reason behind this is to ensure the items on the list are relevant to the cause of what we are trying to do, which is promoting local industry and managing imports. At the end of the day you may discover we will add some items and remove some as we go along,” Bimha said recently delivering his state of industry update.

Market reports indicate the minister is due to meet up with the assessment committee in the next fortnight to look into the list and address smuggling problems that arose from the measures.
Indications are the minister will slash pharmaceuticals from the list following reported drug shortages around the country by local pharmacies.

“Yes, there have been challenges… notably, the growth in smuggling is one such challenge but we have been putting mechanisms in place… Of course I cannot outline them because it will alert smugglers, but the situation is well under control.
“As stated in the terms of reference of the committee, they will also deliver monitoring reports on employment generated; assessing the re-tooling taking place in the various sectors; monitoring the growth in capacity utilisation; evaluating efficiencies of companies and evaluating impact on prices,” he said, adding the committee was also looking at other measures that can be put in place to promote business.

Bimha said the committee will also focus on assessing backward and forward linkages created, monitor the quality of products produced and monitoring small-to-medium enterprises graduation.
The committee is made up of members from various key stakeholders including the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Buy Zimbabwe, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, ZimTrade, and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe among others.

In June last year, the minister restricted entrance of goods such as baked beans and potato crisps, cereals, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.

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