Source: Govt scraps export permits for non-strategic products | The Herald March 14, 2017
GOVERNMENT has removed export permits for non-strategic products as part of efforts to enhance the ease of doing export business and economic growth, an official has said.
This is part of the initiatives being implemented by the Office of the President and Cabinet on the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Initiative, as it pushes for export oriented growth and narrow the country’s trade deficit.
According to the thematic group on export regulations, only four products have been recommended to remain on the list for export permits, under Statutory Instrument 8 of 1996.
The remaining strategic products are fertiliser, raw and refined sugars, timber and timber products, excluding furniture.
Under the original list, products such as butter, cream, gypsum, industrial equipment and machinery, coconut oil, palm oil, animal fats, vegetable acid oil, vegetable fats and oils as well as melamine boards.
Government is also working on the removal of temporary export permits on equipment and implements for exhibitions which is also espoused under SI 8 of 1996.
Chairperson of the export regulations thematic committee Mr Benison Ntini told a review workshop, that it was not necessary to have stringent export procedures and regulations for goods that are non strategic.
He added such products were low hanging fruits that local manufacturing industry could take advantage of to increase export earnings.
“In Zimbabwe, do you think people will die if they do not have palm oil, coconut oil or butter?” quizzed Mr Ntini.
“Why then must it be a hassle to export such products that are not really life threatening, yet we could make more money out of exporting such. It is not necessary for a company to struggle to export butter,” he said.
In addition to this, the committee also proposed removal of Ministry of Agriculture export permit on non strategic products as espoused under the Statutory Instrument 350 of 1993.
Some of the products removed from the original list include animal oils and fats (lard, tallow and dripping), bananas, beans, eggs, fish, pigs and pork products, potatoes, poultry and poultry products, tea, sunflowers and skimmed milk.
The proposed list now comprises of animal semen and embryos, maize and maize products, maize meal, blood meal and carcass meal, compound products for animal feedstuffs, seed, cotton – raw, cotton seed as well as cotton lint.
The committee also proposed reducing time and cost for processing of export permits in Ministries. Mr Ntini said separating import from export permits issuing offices would help speed up the process.
“We need to delegate authority for approval of export permits. This will help speed the process,” he said.
The Ease of Doing Export Business RRI was launched on December 12, 2016 with two thematic groups focusing on export capacity and export regulations.
The ultimate goal is to increase the country’s export earnings which declined from $3,6 billion in 2015 to $2,8 billion in 2016.