Govt mulls scrapping import rebates on consumables

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GOVERNMENT is considering scrapping of import rebate on consumable goods that are also locally available following indications that cheap imports flooding the market are affecting viability of local industries.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

A rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed.

In a speech read on his behalf at the 2015 Buy Zimbabwe Summit in Victoria Falls yesterday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said cheap imports were presenting an unfair competition to locally-produced goods and thus affecting the growth of local industry.

He said the local industry was not benefiting from the growth in the mining sector and regrettably, mines were going to the extent of importing consumables — rubber belts, bolts and nuts, among others — at the expense of the local industry.

“We would want the mining sector to develop linkages with local downstream industries,” Chinamasa said.

“The mining sector is encouraged to source their consumables from local suppliers. I am seriously considering removing duty rebates on imported consumables — which are locally available.”

Chinamasa added: “The mines can collaborate with the local industry in those areas where the capacity is not readily available instead of shifting the entire business to offshore suppliers. There are a number of innovative quasi-integration models that can be explored with the local industry for the benefit of our Great Nation.”

According to official statistics, the country’s imports for the first quarter of the year stood at $1,57 billion compared to exports of $717 million, signalling a 28% decline from the previous quarter. Chinamasa said the mining sector remained an important sector in Zimbabwe’s economic revival plans, but the country was facing serious challenges emanating from the reality that it had increasingly become reliant, for foreign revenues, on a narrow range of mineral exports.