CROSS-BORDER traders could soon begin importing raw materials instead of basic, processed goods as part of a Government plan to expand manufacturing capacity.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries is already engaging traders, with the outcome of those deliberations expected in coming weeks.
Authorities reason that private sector-entrepreneur partnerships can ensure the traders do not lose out following the introduction of selective import restrictions to spur industrial recovery.
A committee comprising the Industry and Commerce Ministry and businesspersons is assessing company production levels on the back of that intervention.
Industry Minister Mike Bimha said, “As we speak, industry’s governing body, CZI, is in talks with cross-border traders to educate them on the benefits of importing raw materials over basic commodities as it sustains their livelihoods.
“Latest updates from CZI show that most traders were forthcoming in terms of seeing the broader picture of what Statutory Instrument 64 is all about and what it wants to achieve. All we want is to see them benefiting and growing into prosperous entities.
“We had to implement that legislation to improve local industry and create more jobs for locals. We can’t be a supermarket of other nations’ products; we need to be producers and exporters of finished goods. We have an obligation to fulfil in the Sadc region as far as trade and industrialisation are concerned.
“We should be able to contribute meaningfully to this regional bloc; not to be mere shoppers of goods. With these import restrictions, consumers from abroad will one day come and buy our products.”
Minister Bimha said a ministerial team was examining operations at Beitbridge Border Post to plug revenue leakages.
“We have detectors, mobile scanners, luggage scanners and CCTV cameras in place so that we curb corruption among Zimra officials, police and border workers in general. As Government, we came to this solution after seeing that we are losing revenue of US$400 000 on our daily transactions and this must stop with immediate effect. We also have a committee within the Ministry of Industry and Commerce that is assessing companies’ efficiency after the implementation of S1 64. We want to assess their overall performance and see if they can be able to supply all corners of the country. We have tasked them to assess the terms of reference of the companies and within a month, we will be able to give a report on how the beneficiaries of the legislation are performing.” sunday mail