French envoy tears into import ban

THE ban on imports was a bad idea as Zimbabwe has an 80% informal sector, a French envoy has said, urging government to be more careful when making decisions.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

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Two weeks ago, government regulated that some products were banned into the country in a bid to boost local production.

The ban came into effect on July 1.

Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines at the launch of the Momagri Agency in Zimbabwe, French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousse said government should understand that the informal sector was an important part of the economy.

“Without the informal sector, which acts as a cushion to allow a large portion of Zimbabweans to survive in these difficult times, government has to be very careful about decisions that have affect in the informal sector. Preventing people from importing into Zimbabwe has led to the uprising we saw in Beitbridge and maybe this decision should have been discussed a little bit more at length with the representatives of that informal sector,” Delahousse said.

“The ban on imports is already affecting the vendors and the vendors are not happy. The ban on imports was not the greatest idea as the country is 80% made up on the informal sector. If you make these people unhappy, you are not going to help your country. I believe that Zimbabwe has all resources, energy and creativeness to come out of this problem. You need to work with everybody, in particular, with us the West.”

He said he was very passionate about the informal sector urging government to hold consultations with the sector before selling polices that can alienate them.

The informal sector’s dominance has often been under debate with numbers varying from 80% to 90% showing the growth of small traders.

Small traders often brought in goods from outside the country due to their affordability and the fact that with the United States dollar being the most common currency in Zimbabwe, traders were able to buy more.

The banned goods include furniture, baked beans, potato crisps, cereals, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.

Synthetic hair products, popular with local women, were also covered by the Statutory Instrument.

7 Comments

  1. Local is lekker

    Informal sector is not exclusive to foreign trinkets. A stroll in the major vending sites in town shows the diversity of merchandise from the traditional vegetables, locally made chips from Cairns, Iris/Charhons biscuits, Milk products from DenDairy, Dairiboard, mapatapata n shoes from SiyaSo. Importing toothpicks, matches, peanut butter is not in the best interests of the country. The statutory instrument will effectively develop small and large scale local manufacture of these basic commodities. “Hatingati nyika yese yacha” to quote from President RG Mugabe on ESAP 1993 on unchecked opening up of the economy.

  2. WE WILL STILL BE IMPORTING TOOTHPICKS, Mr (s) Local is Lekker. Difference is, you are no longer allowed to do that. We have given the mandate to Choppies, TM and OK, who will bring the toothpicks to your dinner table. Forex will continue to flow out, and cross border traders will experience an economic depression. In the meantime Choppies and friends will be making a killing. If you manage to raise enough bribe to get the license, good for you.

    I just hope that those who get the licenses will be responsible enough to pay import duty. God bless Zimbabwe

  3. I feel that we should only ban items when we have the capacity to meet demand locally. Perhaps we should start with an inquiry into the reasons that caused the closure of our industries before going downstream.

  4. The said words sound reasonable but, that’s what an African ideology term ‘DETECTED TO’, they don’t take kindly to advise nor do they put reasoning into matters which affect the populace. ADVICE FROM THE WEST? They are at war with the words WEST and WHITE.

  5. alyssacopeland444

    just as Micheal responded I am amazed that any body able to get paid $4334 in 4 weeks on the internet
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  6. For your own information Mr Local is Lekker, Unilever is only producing royco locally, and your Dairyboard ,dendrairy and probrands are importing milk from SA and repackaging it locally. They no longer have the jersey cows which cost $1600 each. So study first before u start commenting.

    1. just as Micheal responded I am amazed that any body able to get paid $4334 in 4 weeks on the internet
      ——————– ◐◐◐◐◐◐◐◐◐◐ w­w­w.CenterWeb10.­c­o­­m

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