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Import ban on locally-available products remains


GOVERNMENT says the tenure of Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016 is dependent on a report from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s Evaluation and Monitoring Committee which had been tasked to examine the effects of the import regulation.


Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha
Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha

Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha (pictured) told reporters in a question-and-answer session following a tour of a Harare company, Hanawa Super Foods, yesterday that SI 64 had no tenure as they needed more information from the committee.

“There is no tenure. The correct thing is that SI 64 is temporary. Your question is how temporary? It is very situational. It varies from product to product, sector to sub-sector. That is why I am saying when we get the report from the Evaluation and Monitoring Committee it will give us information that will start to help us,” he said.

“How long can we go? Well, you need facts which are objectively derived, that are scientific and we do not have that at the moment. I cannot have a thumbsuck view and say ‘ah for today it (SI 64) will be one year’. What is the basis of that assertion? We need objective information and that is one of the mandates of the Evaluation and Monitoring Committee to give us an indication of how much time we can continue to support a particular sector. So there are no timelines.”

He said as of now SI 64 would remain in place and would be supported by the introduction of other measures that complement the legislation, chief among them a local content policy or programme.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s Evaluation and Monitoring Committee was set up to monitor the impact of SI 64 in October 2016, a few months after the SI was introduced in June.

As such, the committee has been doing research on the causes and effects of SI 64.

Regional countries, investors and some private sector players have raised concerns over the tenure of SI 64 that it was deterring investment.

Last year, SI 64’s implementation briefly caused tensions with South Africa, whose private sector lost millions of dollars and as a result demanded that government remove duty on 112 products from that country.

As reported by our sister paper The Standard at the time, sources said that government had caved in to the pressure from South Africa over the products.

Bimha yesterday confirmed that they had indeed removed duty on some of those 112 products.

He also added that tensions were also caused with Zambia over SI 64.

Despite SI 64 boosting capacity utilisation to 47,4% in 2016 up from 34,3% in the previous year, some continue to worry over its continued promulgation.

Last week, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo said such legislation was of a time-bound nature but that it was important.

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