Move to remove blankets on Open General Import Licence welcomed

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THE textile sector in Zimbabwe has welcomed the move by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to remove blankets from the Open General Import Licence for a period of 24 months, saying the move would boost their capacity.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

However, the sector was quick to urge the government to be implementers of the policies not only crafters.

Presenting his mid-year fiscal policy review last week, Chinamasa said the textile industry was one of the low hanging fruits, whereby turnaround could be realised within a short period, if adequate support was availed.

He proposed to introduce a Manufacturers’ Rebate of duty on critical inputs imported by approved textile manufacturers. This rebate of duty will cover spare parts, yarn and unbleached fabric, among others.

He also proposed to increase customs duty on poly-knitted fabric from 10% to 40% plus $2,50 per kg.

Patrick Chinamasa

However, in an interview with NewsDay, Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association vice-president Freedom Dube said measures put by Chinamasa were pro-industry but urged the government to implement them.

“These cocktail of measures will go a long way in protecting the textile industry and our capacity is going to improve,” Dube said.

“Zimbabweans are good at crafting policies and the devil is in the implementation. We hope the responsible authorities like Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the police would enforce these measures as stipulated.”

Dube said he expected that the whole value-chain of the industry would improve shortly.

He said people against the ban of second-hand clothing are being myopic. He said the measures introduced would help industry generate more employment needed in the country.

Dube urged clothing and textile manufactures to desist from hiking their product prices willy-nilly.

“We should make our products affordable,” he said.

Chinamasa noted that the local industry has remained relatively uncompetitive, mainly due to high costs of production, obsolete equipment, lack of access to cheap finance and competition from imported products.

Thousands of jobs have been lost in the clothing and textile industry in the last decade due to the economic crisis. Companies such as Karina Textiles, David Whitehead Textiles Limited, Merlin, Travan Textiles and National Blankets, which were some of the largest players in the industry, are under judicial management as the economy continues to be blighted by unrelenting turmoil.