The government is working on the removal of import duty on raw materials to ease cost pressures on manufacturers, it has been learnt.
Speaking after a touring the Nestlé Zimbabwe factory on Friday last week, director enterprises development in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Stanslaus Mangoma said there were many products that should be looked at considering that many companies were importing raw materials.
“I think we should be able to have a situation where raw materials which go to manufacturing process should not attract any duty. Each situation has to be acted on, on its own,” Mangoma said.
Nestlé Zimbabwe country manager Kumbirai Katsande said the company was importing some of its raw materials such as milk from South Africa to supplement local supplies.
The milk-producing company is failing to meet the demand of its products in the country as a result of the shortage of milk locally.
The company which produces powder milk Cremora and Everyday, Coffee, Milo, Cérévita and Cérélac brands is operating at 30% capacity on its milk production line and is in the process of refurbishing its Southerton plant at an estimated cost of $27 million.
“The dairy industry has gone down. We used to produce 700 million litres of milk a year now we are below 50 million litres. The country used to have 200 000 milk producing cows now there are 38 000 cows in the country, ” Katsande said.
Katsande said the company would be introducing 30 working milk production schemes in the country in the next seven years including at mission schools and communities to produce milk for their own consumption.
“We have purchased 200 cows so far from South Africa and they have been delayed because of the foot-and-mouth disease,” he said.
The company said due to the overwhelming demand for Cérévita in Zambia and Malawi the Nestlé has not been able to meet the demand.
Katsande said the company was working closely with the government.