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Zim imports water, toothpicks

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ZIMBABWE’S import products list is growing and now includes water and toothpicks which Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said should be procured locally.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Bimha told a meeting of retailers and wholesalers on Friday that a number of products from the Open General Import License had been removed to reduce some of the imports coming into the country.

“How can we, as a nation import water, toothpicks, plastics to mention but a few? Surely, we can do better than this,” Bimha on Friday told a meeting of retailers and wholesalers.

Bimha said his ministry had toured different retail and wholesale outlets to observe the percentage of shelve space occupied by local products as compared to imports.

The tour showed that the average space allocated to local products in wholesale shops was 70% and 49% in retail shops.

“In our visits around we found that there were differences. In some wholesalers or supermarkets there is more of imports than locally-produced goods, you go to the next one and it is the opposite you find more of local products than imports,” Bimha said.

“The issue is why and that is because it is a management decision that is made so the issue of imports or not is a question of management.”

Government wants to curtail imports and boost local industries.

It says restrictions on imports would increase capacity within the local industry and as a result will enjoy economies of scale in their production processes, leading to a reduction in the unit cost of production. This would ultimately lead to a reduction in the price of final product.

“We have set up a committee that comprises of ministry officials and representatives of the private sector which will be evaluating applications for imports before recommending the same to us for approval,” Bimha said.

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