Imports ban: Govt puts waivers

Government has specified the quantities of products individuals can import into the country as it moves to fine-tune its policy after a blanket “ban” on imports triggered chaos in the past days.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA/TARISAI MANDIZHA

ZIMRA-OFFICES

Three weeks ago, government promulgated Statutory Instrument (S1) 64, which restricted the importation of certain products in an ambitious drive to promote local industries.

It said those who wanted to import the products had to secure a permit, which costs $30 and valid for three months, but after satisfying authorities why the products should be brought into the country.

A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) notice released yesterday said individuals could bring into the country, among other items, a maximum of 1kg coffee creamers (Cremora), cereals (2kg), hair products (6 packets of a weight not exceeding 1,5kg), washing powder (4kg), mayonnaise or salad creams (not exceeding 2 litres) and bar soap (box of 24).

There is also potato crisps (one pack of 12 of 125g each), peanut butter (2kg), jams (2kg), canned fruits and vegetables (2kg), yoghurt (1kg), cheese (1kg), juice blend (4 litres), camphor creams, white petroleum jellies (180ml) as well as shoe polish (one pack of 12 of 50ml or 40g each).

Zimra said the allowance was granted once in a month on the first entry only.

The waiver on the imports comes after Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa had yesterday told a Buy Local summit that the regulation restricting the importation of certain products had created confusion.

“The SI impacted on the ordinary person who will be bringing in a few items for the family. The removal is supposed to impact on commercial imports and that matter is being tightened up. It should not impact somebody who is buying for the family,” she had said.

Shonhiwa said government had set up a committee to look at the measure which is made up of representatives from the private sector, retailers and Buy Zimbabwe.

The committee is chaired by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and held its first meeting two weeks ago.


Shonhiwa said in coming up with SI 64, the government was informed by companies through consultations and by the ZimAsset document.
She said it was not a ban, but a removal of the products from open general licence to the licencing system, adding that in the two weeks after the SI 64 was introduced, the ministry received a several applications and it cleared them.

Shonhiwa said SI 64 was temporary and targeted at products coming from anywhere in the world — and not South Africa only — as Zimbabwe was aware of its regional obligations.

Goods that have been removed from the open general import licence and now require a permit to be brought into the country include coffee creamers (Cremora), camphor creams, white petroleum jellies and body creams.

Goods categorised as builders’ ware like wheelbarrows (flat pan and concrete pan wheelbarrows), structures and parts of structures of iron or steel (bridges and bridges section, lock gates, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors, windows and their frames and threshold for doors, shutters, balustrade, pillars and columns) and plates, rods, angles, shapes section and tubes prepared for use in structures of iron and steel ware, were also on the list of the restricted products.

The list also includes 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 that are popular with women were also covered by the SI.

The new policy on imports comes as the Industry and Commerce ministry has issued 3 100 import licences to clear a consignment which was bought earlier before the announcement of the new regulations.

The licences are single entry, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said.

“The import licences we have issued are for the people whose goods were already bought prior to the announcement of SI 64 of 2016. We have said let’s not penalise people and in doing so, we have issued licences for these people to clear their consignments at the border,” he said.

Bimha said his ministry had not received applications from people seeking to import the restricted products.

“We haven’t seen anyone who wants to import because the thing is that one will have to justify why he/she wants to import. Is there a shortage or are the products not available?” he said.

“If you want a licence, we give on the basis that you justify. We didn’t ban imports, but we are encouraging people not to import what we produce in the country.”

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23 Comments

  1. Yaa we thought so… Toyi toyi is the only language that you understand. By engaging the people you could have saved yourselves a lot of pain and humiliation.

  2. if i justify on my behalf does the next person need to justify on the same reasons or the next person will just have to be given import licence ? is it true that bimha does not know the reasons as to why people are importing ? In gweru police has been deployed kugadha choppies vakomana here ?

  3. Remove the import ban totally please!

    1. Import ban should stay. Let’s buy Zimbabwe and strengthen our industry. If you do that very soon you will realise you don’t have to travel 1000km to buy a bottle of cooking oil. Buying local creates jobs and saves foreign currency.

  4. Zanupf are confused cockroaches through & through

  5. i am sad that zanu did not learn from mdc guys during the gnu. those guys showed a lot of sense even with their weaknesses. i had even thought mugabe as a statesman would have included some of those brilliant ministers in his government than this lot of his. who is better for the people biti and chinamasa. who is better for the people dokora and colthat. supa is now disaster already. so is kasukuwerere.

  6. police GWERU !!!you are guarding CHOPPIES imi mune nzara. kana allowance ye lunch inobva imomo hapana. miromo yanga yakachana kuti mbuu nenzara. WAKE UP,THIS IS NEW ZIM!!

  7. moda kupamhiwa toyi toyi imi vanhu ve zanu

    ndokut mubvise that ban totally

    yr locally avail products anodhura fut

    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

  8. You are controlling market forces by directly controlling and limiting customer choices. successful governments usually influence the direction the economy has to take through policies that are persuasive to the market forces to drive markets towards government initiatives. Banning imports can never be persuasive as this is tantamount to forcing the market to buy uncompetitive local products @ higher prices than imports. How do we get imports into the country at cheaper prices than locally produced products. we have wrong fundamentals (Politics) . Sort Zim politics well you sort the economy as well. Current crop of government ministers are the least capable or qualified to address the challenges the zim economy presents and yet these are the guys charged with the job to sort out the economy(my foot) chinamasa, kasukuwere, made , chimeni, muchinguri, mandiwanzira and the list goes on and on. What do you expect from the people really. Zimbabwe has better individuals than these fellows . Current crop are simply there to serve their master period. They sing , praise and worship that is the only qualification currently needed to be a minister in the current government. So why are we expecting better from these guys? Local products must compete with imports but this is not happening because there is no local production taking place. Now since every one is importing goods and vending out while crowding out ma Cheff this can not be allowed. They now want people to obtain import licences and give reasons why one wants to import, watch out these licences being dolled out to relatives and ZANUPF aligned lot. Povo is being side lined and will find it hard to live from now onwards except obtain imported goods from the cheffs at high prices if they want to continue vending..

    1. rosieburton444

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

  9. For s family of six. How many times do I have to go to South Africa for groceries.
    Just reverse this law period.

  10. Shoko Ndirori

    Gweru and all Zimbabwe just boycott Choppies. Zanu PF, Mugabe and Mhpoko will pay their partisan police with the perishing goods in Choppies.

  11. Smith never taxed black business people because he said the profits they made from their grocery shops were too negligible to waste resources on. Here we are with our govt full of ministers with PhDs spending a whole lot of time and resources on individuals’1kg of Cremona, 2kgs of cereal; this would be so laughable if it wasn’t pathetic. This is really politics of poverty. Anyone who ever voted for ZANU should feel ashamed.

  12. I am telling my cop relatives to STOP IT. ..tell yours too. ..STOP IT. ..

  13. Let the reason for import licence should be on common bricks cement and clay only.which companies are producing steel in Zimbabwe its steel markers Zimbabwe but limited volumes.i think its produces about 2 percent of the country s requirements. Any one with figures of production fir steelmakers to supply us with figures. Any one with figures for demand on steel requirements to give us figures then check whether it makes sense what the honourable minister is calling for. It najes sense to revise zisco steel which they destroyed because of lack of knowledge. I believe let’s not have permits but bun the product completely if we are sure we are right about its availability locally. These they don’t have the country at heart but looking for ways to in rich themselves. If they have one policy meant to benefit the country and ordinary people ket them say it out we will be happy. And we shouldn’t be were we are today

  14. I don’t see how the waiver help s with such limited quantities and restrictions on number of entries

    1. rachaelgross444

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

  15. I’m waiting for a bright journalist who will unmask this idiotic SI by making a list of the banned products against real brands on the market one column for imports and another for local and another indicating the manufacturers. Of interest is Mayonnaise which I understand that only Lyons manufacturer’s locally under the RABROY brand. On the other hand there is the imported NOLA and Cross and Blackwell. I cant wait for Mrs Mboko’s response when she gets her salad dressed with the yellowish rubberlike rubbish that is manufactured by Lyons. In other words, if the SI will only advantage one company such as the case above or Treggers for wheelbarrows, then our not-so-bright Bimha has just created monopolies.

  16. tamama sure sure

  17. What if if one gives a justification for importation that the product or products being imported from outside are way beyond reach here. Very high price? I think that is justification enough.

  18. I think we should start looking at the numbers, Zimbabwe is in a really bad start we a loosing jobs everyday and this is becoz we cannot compete with these imports, that’s why they were banned, it’s for our own good because if we didnt do that soon u wouldnt have the job to give u money to go and import groceries, look what we did with the cooking oil industry in when cooking oil imports were regulated. our industry boomed we used to gave only 15% of local manufactured cooking oil on the shelves now it’s 95% more jobs for us our economy grows, I believe thats the same thing our government wants to do since it has been successfully in cooking oil

    1. kellisparks444

      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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