‘Plastic’ imports choke Zimbabwe’s plastic industry

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PLAYERS in the plastic industry want government to put tariffs on imports to halt the influx of cheap products that threaten the survival of the sector.

TARISAI MANDIZHA
BUSINESS REPORTER

Speaking during the familiarisation tour of the plastic industry by Members of Parliament in the Industry and Commerce portfolio committee on Friday, Versapak Zimbabwe general manager Andrew John said the influx of cheap goods and the levying of duty on raw materials was killing the local industry.

“One of the challenges we are facing is duty on raw materials, it doesn’t seem like it’s a levelled playing field. The issue of imports flooding the market is killing the industry,” John said.

The committee is chaired by Ray Kaukonde, Zanu PF MP for Marondera Central.

He said the company has the capacity to produce 1 200 tonnes, but was currently producing 900 tonnes per year and capacity utilisation was between 65% and 70%.

Metal and plastic packaging manufacturer Carnaud Metalbox managing director John Van Gend said the company has been struggling with the food canning business saying it was as good as dead.

“To revive the industry, government should stop imports and there is need to grow more foodstuffs in Zimbabwe to grow the canning industry,” Gend said.

Manufacturers of plastic pipe systems for water and sewer reticulation, Proplastics, a subsidiary of Masimba Holdings, said the company has the capacity to
produce 12 000 tonnes a year, but was currently producing 4 000 tonnes.

“The market is currently going through a tough time, low disposable income, cost per unit is low and we are not making a profit,” Masimba chief executive Canada Malunga said.

“The issue of aggregate demand requires an economic blueprint to determine how we are going to get out of it, introduction of new money as a bailout package of a substantial amount and to grow foreign direct investments.”

He said Proplastics was currently operating at 33% capacity utilisation and had a 60% market share.

Global Plastics managing director Max Chiduwa said the company was facing challenges of electricity and low demand of products due to influx of finished goods into the country.

Chiduwa said the company was only operating using four machines out of 10 due to low product demand on the market and also the high cost of running business using generators due to shortages of electricity.

“We are supposed to operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but due to low demand in the market we are operating four days a week,” Chiduwa said.
He added that government should put in place protective tariff on imports to protect the industry.

Mega Pak marketing director Lincoln Garwi said the company was currently operating between 66% to 70% capacity utilisation and was producing 12 000 tonnes per annum.

He said the company was facing challenges of power, influx of imports and shortage of affordable credit lines.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Low demand, and influx of cheap imports to a market with a low demand, is a bit contradictory. Charging levies and other importation fees on raw materials is a bit of a sensible complaint. But our people should just learn to be competitive. Government cannot do business for them and generate their profits by banning everything so that they can prosper financially. These are the same guys who will lecture us on globalism and its impact on every nation. Yet, they are not prepared to take the bull by its horns and learn to be hard. When the going gets tough, the tough get going: So we have heard. What’s wrong with these local industrialists? Just flood the market with low priced items so that those that come from outside finde no takers. They want to make gain by restricting supply, thereby raising prices on limited product supplies, punishing the consumer in the process, and calling that business.

    • $9­­­­­­­­­7­­­­­­­­­/­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­p­­­­­­­­­av­­­­­­­­­i­­v­­­­­­­­­d­­­­­­­­­v­­­­­­­­­ b­­­­­­­­­y G­­­­­­­­­o­­o­­­g­­­­­­­­­l­­e­­­­­­­­­,

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      it’s ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­

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  2. The Government should urgently do something to save the plastic industry. The best thing is to ban cheap and poor Chinese products, these local products should be affordable to the locals. For example if Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry could make its products cheap and affordable, the government would have banned all imports. The government cannot ban the imports if local products are too expensive.

  3. Well said Muwani/studio Couldnt agree more with you Learn to be good corporate citizens first.You just want things to go your way always.It was you ie business who were clamouring for a free for all economy now that other players are in and youcant compete you want gov intervention in your favour of course.In all this where is the consumer watchdog.We consumers just want affordable goods at reasonable prices whether from Tokyo or Beijing.Vadzingwa mabasa kuindustry vachanoshanda muretail.The country shouldnt be manouvered to legislate to protect inefficiency.This is a global village.You sink or swim in the same ocean.

  4. No guys u a all wrong. The gvmnt must not charge duty for raw mats wc are not locally produced. Thts wat is making local goods expansive n company closes bcoz pple buy cheap goods frm sa. U cnt compete w sa becoz every raw mats are available in their country therefore cheap final product since thy are nt importng any raw mats. Our indstries are payng duty for raw mats plus vat for final product coupled w old machines n expect goods to be cheaper. Hapana company inodhurisa to the extend of loosing market share n closes

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