Government is setting up a monitoring and evaluation team to assess the effects of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 on the business sector and make improvements according to recommendations from stakeholders, a senior official has said.
The Statutory Instrument removed 42 products from the open general import licence, restricting their importation into Zimbabwe.
This was after it was felt that local industry had capacity to produce the goods.
SI64 controls a wide array of imports, including coffee creamers, camphor creams, white petroleum jellies, body lotions, builders’ wares such as wheelbarrows, structures and parts of structures of iron or steel, bridges and bridge sections, lock gates, lattice masts, roof, roof frameworks and doors.
Responding to questions from players in the private sector at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries SI64 breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the policy was part of recommendations made by the private sector as a way of addressing challenges they were facing.
Minister Bimha said the policy was a temporary measure which sought to address challenges in the manufacturing sector and protect local companies from imports.
Some businesspeople who attended the meeting felt SI64 was a rushed effort. They said no consultations were made before it was implemented. It was also highlighted that firms that rely on imports face closure.
But Minister Bimha said consultations were made. “The Statutory Instrument 64 is part of recommendations from the business sector made 12 months ago. When I became minister, I consulted the private sector on what they thought could be done to address the challenges they were facing.
“We then involved other players in the industry such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, among others, to identify products that would be put on the restriction list.
“Business associations also carried out another survey and identified products that were in sufficient quantities and that is how we crafted the SI 64,” he said.
The minister said it was important for business to highlight the unintended consequences of the policy.
“SI64 is not meant for companies to shed labour where companies get adverse effects. We need to strike a balance. You should come and talk to us. We need to find ways of making sure companies survive and continue to comply. I would not dream that this policy would affect so and so in this manner.” herald