IMPORTS into Zimbabwe declined 8% in the month of July 2016 due to import control measures put in place by the government recently to boost local industry, latest trade data from the national statistics agency shows.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Government recently gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which removed goods that are supposedly locally available from the open general import licence exemption, triggering mass protests either side of the Beitbridge border post.
Under the new regulations, those who want to import restricted products have to secure a $30 permit, only valid for three months, after justifying why they should be allowed to bring products into the country.
Data released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) showed that imports for the month of July decreased by 8% to $395 million compared to $430 million recorded in June.
Exports, on the other hand, increased by 4% to $184m.
Cumulatively to July, the country’s imports bill stood at $3 billion, a decline of 12% from $3,4bn in the same period in prior year, while exports amounted to $1,3bn, indicating a slightly continued reliance on imported goods as local industry remains depressed.
Trade deficit in the period under review amounted to $1,6bn.
Imports from South Africa, the country’s largest trading partner, reached $176m in July, while exports stood at $148m.
Some of the imported products include cheese, sausage casings, fish, milk, agricultural products including maize, sugar-related confectionaries, biscuits, chemicals, fertilisers, vehicles and generators.
Exports included beef, soaps, tobacco and other agricultural produce as well as wines, minerals and scrap metal.