Too many restrictions stifling exports

Local exporters were facing restrictions such as a number of fees associated with regulation of permits and regulations which stifle the growth of exports, export promotion body, ZimTrade has said.

Source: Too many restrictions stifling exports – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 6, 2016


Speaking at the Public Private Sector Dialogue on Simplification of Zimbabwe Export Processes in Harare yesterday, ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said the export impediments faced by exporters include among others lack of export incentives, lack of competitiveness and a number of fees associated with regulation of permits.

Pilime said exporters faced high production costs arising from obsolete machinery, high cost of utilities and other inputs.

“Our exporters cannot compete against regional and international exporters who are receiving various export incentives from their governments. Besides not getting any incentives, our exporters also face the constraints mentioned earlier, which their competitors do not,” she said.

Pilime said a decision should be made at the lowest level consistent with competence “where industry can self-regulate, let it be so, reduces administrative burden and shortens processing time, objective of regulation is not lost, what is achieved is faster and more effective regulation”.

“SI [Statutory Instrument] 350 of 1993 states that products require export permits from the ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. The list has over 35 agricultural products and includes citrus fruits, bananas, beans, butter, eggs, ground nuts and mange tout peas. This should be repealed or streamlined to strategic products like maize. For example, bananas end up rotting,” she said.

Pilime, however, recommended a change in attitude adding that the majority of the regulatory requirements needed an overhaul. She said in order to promote export growth it does not require a change in the law, but a change in attitude and streamlining of export documentation to reduce the processing time.

Pilime recommended the establishment of a One-Stop-Shop for export and import documentation as part of measures aimed at improving the ease of doing business.

“We recommend that this process be extended to create a One-Stop-Shop for the processing of export and import documentation but, only after streamlining,” she said.

Pilime said it was necessary to encourage a change in attitude by establishing a Business Facilitation Law as was the case in Mauritius in 2006.

Such a law, with penalties for contrary behaviour, would make it mandatory for regulatory authorities to speed up and facilitate trade processes.