Zimbabwe’s trade deficit increased to $2,5 billion as at August 31, as the economy pulled in more imports with exports stagnant, the country’s trade promotion body has said.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
In the period January to June, the trade deficit was $1,83 billion.
Speaking at the Zimtrade Annual Exporters’ Conference 2015 yesterday in Harare, ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said there was need to address the administrative and regulatory challenges which continue to impede exports.
“Achieving competitiveness requires the participation of every stakeholder, that is, government, industry associations and individual firms in the formulation and implementation of policy,” Pilime said.
“We remain passionate about the success of our exporters, success which would lead to reducing the massive trade deficit, which currently stands at $2,5 billion as at August 31, 2015.”
In his mid-term Fiscal Policy review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa projected the trade deficit to rise to $3,1 billion by year-end.
Pilime said major challenges still exist with respect to effective implementation of trade policies.
“It is in response to the cries from exporters that we have decided to provide this platform for exchange of ideas in a quest to find lasting and mutually beneficial solutions,” she said.
“As the national trade development and promotion organisation, we continue to seek enhanced export competitiveness by enterprises in order to grow their export volumes and enhance the financial performance of our enterprises and, through them, the economy.”
Exports contributed about 60% of the country’s foreign currency earnings followed by Diaspora remittances at 27% for the period 2009 to 2014
Between January and August 2015, exports were $1,46 billion, a decline of 2,6% compared to the same period in 2014.
Pilime urged companies to take advantage of the various trade agreements that Zimbabwe is a signatory to such as Sadc, Comesa, the European Union as well as bilateral agreements.
Pilime said the focus of ZimTrade’s interventions in support of the exporting industry was to unpack the true benefits that might not be apparent to some stakeholders.