via Vice President Joice Mujuru appeals to Zimbabwe Treasury by Tarisai Mandizha NewsDay October 25, 2013
VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru has appealed to Treasury to extend more budgetary support to the country’s trade facilitation agency to ensure that it plays a critical role in the economy.
Speaking at the Exporters Conference in Harare yesterday, Mujuru said State-owned ZimTrade requires support from Treasury amid concerns that the contry’s trade deficit continues to widen.
Official figures show that imports are almost trebling exports as the country further slides into a net importer.
“This can be done by extending a hand of technical and financial support so that there can deliver more positive results in line with the dictates of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation,” Mujuru said.
“It is our hope that therefore ZimTrade in due course will be able to embrace information communication technology by promoting online trading as is the pace with electronic commerce companies like Amazon and so on.”
Mujuru said business should consider reviewing the current pricing system to make them viable in the face of competition from cheaper imports.
“I think our pricing system in this country is something which needs to be looked into urgently.We discussed about this in Cabinet that we need to definitely take it upon ourselves as urgently as possible that we work on our pricing structure,” Mujuru said.
“Our thinking capacity is still in the days of our Zimbabwe dollar era where we used to go to bus stops where you people here were burning the Zimbabwe dollar, I think that must stop because what we are dealing with now its hard currency.”
Speaking at the same event, ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said Zimbabwe’s export performance decline over the last two decades was due to underperformance of the agriculture and the manufacturing sector.
Capacity utilisation for the sector this year dropped to 39% from 44% in prior year due to a myriad of problems which include underfunding, antiquated technology and stiff competition from regional imports.