THE country is spending in excess of $65 million a month in the importation of “chicken gizzards, liver, feet and heads,” a development the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says shows “lack of focus”.
REPORT BY MERNAT MAFIRAKUREWA ACTING BUSINESS EDITOR
Addressing stakeholders at the Zimbabwe Independent Banks and Banking Survey breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono said there was a worrisome import dependency syndrome that had taken root since the turn of the century.
“Would you believe it that as a country we are spending on average no less than $65 million a month to import chicken gizzards, livers, feet, heads intestines and that kind of thing,” he said.
“We are even having to import chickens without breasts and yet we are a country that has gone through a major land reform programme, which is supposed to see us being self sufficient on aspects such as those that require really no rocket science to grow.
“It’s simply because we are lacking focus.
“Now you look at a country that spends $900 million a year importing such basics as chickens in an environment where you cannot print your own currency then you begin to get what kind of joke that sometimes we are becoming.”
The central bank boss said the country was in a dichotomous position given that some believe the country should import everything it requires, which he said had led to a huge current account deficit that was widening by the day.
“When we analyse exactly what we are importing, we find that we are importing those commodities and finished products that we could easily manufacture on our own,” he said.
He said through the huge imports, the country was in the process of exporting jobs and contributing to the low capacity utilisation within industry.
“If you have a manufacturing sector operating at that level (42%) and you don’t do something to arrest the trend and help that sector, you are heading for trouble,” Gono said.
He said there was a limit to which people could continue to import as it required funds that should come in the form of export receipts and lines of credit, among other sources.
The survey was sponsored by FBC Bank.