Zim forced to backtrack on import restrictions

Source: Zim forced to backtrack on import restrictions – The Zimbabwe Independent June 21, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S new import restrictions have sparked a furore, with protestations by importers and traders over the banning of imports of synthetic hair products, salad creams, building material, other foodstuffs and toiletries forcing the revenue authority to suspend the new measures.

The high volumes of imports – most of them from South Africa, Zambia and Botswana – have been occasioned by a struggling and poorly capacitated local industry. South Africa accounts for most imports into Zimbabwe, with the continent’s third-largest economy being the source market of about US$798m worth of goods imported into Zimbabwe in the last five months.

The government, sources say, is also now set to descend on regional retailers such as Pick n Pay, Choppies and Spar which have operations in Zimbabwe in a bid to force them to pick their stock from local suppliers.

“The industry ministry is preparing instruments to push retailers to procure stock from the local market,” said a source.

However, there could be problems with this as industry capacity utilisation in Zimbabwe has sagged to below 40%. OK Zimbabwe said recently that it is procuring most of its retail supplies for the Zimbabwe market from South Africa.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has reportedly now been forced to shelve the ban on imports. The authority has restored the previous dispensation, where it levies a 40% import duty on most goods and commodities.

“The regional manager told travellers that they could revert to the normal situation where they paid 40% duty for their items rather than the provisions of the new statutory instrument.

“As of now, the implementation of the new regulations is suspended pending consultations between Zimra, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other stakeholders,” the state-run Herald newspaper quoted a Zimra official as saying on Tuesday.

Although traders and importers have castigated the new import measures, the Buy Zimbabwe pressure and lobby group for the consumption of local products welcomed the restrictions.

“This timely intervention comes at a time when the country is suffering from the debilitating effects of an unsustainable import bill.

“While this characterisation of our economic state of affairs may seem a bit stretched and even a little harsh to our country, on closer examination it feels very close to what has been going on over the past five years,” said Kipson Gundani, an economist with Buy Zimbabwe.

He added that Zimbabwe’s “import bill remains very high and unsustainable, averaging US$7bn annually since 2011”.

Other experts said the net importer status of Zimbabwe is worsening cash shortages in the country. Banks are expected to start issuing rands, euros and Chinese yuan in a bid to ease the high demand for US dollars in the country.

New figures released by Zimstats show that Zimbabwe’s imports for the five-month period to May declined by 12% to US$2.07bn compared to the same period last year. However, imports surged on a month-on-month basis from $356.4m in April 2016 to US$413.6m last month.-Fin24


  • comment-avatar
    Mpisi 6 years ago

    What is it to Govt what a man spends his money on? It is HIS money to spend. We have paid our tax and our duty. Let local companies LEARN TO COMPETE. Big problem as this Govt has destroyed capacity. No productive capacity and now no retail capacity! No import duty no VAT no jobs no common sense.

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    TJINGABABILI 6 years ago


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    Velaphi 6 years ago

    The government is making ordinary people suffer as most of them are relying on our neighboiring countries for cheap clothing, second hand building materials and food which is being sent home by those working there as there are no job opportunities in zimbabwe and to make matters worse the country is facing drought those with family members outside were going to be spared the drought by being sent food by their relatives. As for those in office they know they are not affected by the regulations as they enjoy the good life. The treatment they get at the port of entry is totally different from ordinary travellers

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    Even the 40% should just go! Why wait to rob instead of stopping this thievery?

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    Tiger Shona 6 years ago

    You have never seen a group of people as stupid as these Zanu PF that is ruling this country.
    Will they ever understand that actions have consequences?
    Time and again they will back themselves into a corner.
    It is their actions that have put us in this predicament.
    We go from the one crisis to the next. And it is never ending.

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    Mubaiwa 6 years ago

    This fire fighting approach is useless. These import restrictions need to be just one part of a wider strategy that includes working with banks to provide tailor made financial services for farmers, startups and SMEs. SMEs and small scale farmers are the main producers in our economy currently. The strategy should also have a very clear plan for dealing with production cost drivers in the key sectors, these include zesa power, fuel, corporate tax agric inputs. Without this coordinated approach the authorities are just inflaming the situation to no real benefit for anyone, including them selves politically

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    jealous 6 years ago

    Sure, go for the big established and legal stores, heaven forbid that they should tax the informal shambles, that cannot be controlled

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    Brian Zivanai 6 years ago

    But from my basic layman point of understanding economic fundamentals, High demand due to low supply causes prices to rise . Whilst it is prudent to protect local industries, promote consumption of local goods , promote fellow brethren whose machinery and resources capacity can not meet national demand. I observed that we fueling price increases to consumers whose incomes have not increased. And my general definition of inflation maybe falls in this category. We trying to promote another sector and let alone causing another sector to be valnerable to our decisions. I think its noble if public opinions can be sort before implementing policies.

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    gatsheni 6 years ago

    We are being led by old none thinking idiots,they are too old to think for the future .so sad to our kids.

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      The zanu pf movement is a satanic versions of the devil, no development,nothing,only political suppression is their project,but all at large ,the Zimbabwean masses are there to blame because they are self centred and uselessness.

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    Mazano Rewayi 6 years ago

    This government never had the capacity to plan. For them everything is war and decisions are for the moment, that is all they know. As for evidence based policy making forget it. We have a village head’s court masquerading as a national government, no knowledge, no research, no consultations, just opinions. Once the village head has spoken that becomes the law. We will not go anywhere with this feudal set up in place. We need an overhaul and new start. We need better fiscal and monetary control, we need policy consistency and we need to live within our means whilst attracting anyone with funds to invest in our obsolete/archaic production systems. Zanu PF can never do this.

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    C Frizell 6 years ago

    Well, actually – like most disasters in Zim this is self-inflicted.

    The fanatical racism has driven out White Zimbos who were good at running manufacturing industries. I know, I am one of them. The Land Grab and Indigenisation were classic examples of shooting oneself in the foot (or more likely, in the head)

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    Johannes 6 years ago

    The truth is Bimha, his relatives, zanu pf, ministers want to give themselves permits to import on behalf of all Zimbabweans.

    They banned cooking oil and price rose from $2.50 2lts to current $3.80 2lts. What benefit is it to the unemployed masses. they benefit because the shops ripping the poor are theirs.

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    ras johnX 6 years ago

    i am a patriotic Zimbabwean and a proud one. as much as i love my country i would like to buy Zimbabwean and spend every dollar here but tell me how can I? a 3 piece leather recliner lounge suite in Zim is $3467.99 check in TV sales and hire. a better quality and classy one in SA Joshua Doore R15999.99 include all cost i.e 40% duty, transport and others at the exchange rate of R15.00- $1.00 you are bound to save at least $1200.00 which is disposable cash you can use to better your life and that of your dependents. now if what we call buy Zimbabwe means extortion then where will i get money to support my old granny in Mutwupizana??? a sane man will always import until such a time we control the prices or our retailers sell at a competetive price. we dont want to be importers as much a we hate travelling for 18hrs or more