CROSS border traders are set to get licences to buy goods from local
producers at a discount as Government moves to cushion the informal
traders following the import restrictions effected by Statutory
Instrument (SI) 64.
The traders are also going to access loans from banks starting next month as part of efforts to boost their businesses. Following the implementation of SI 64 in June this year, there was speculation that the restrictions on imports of some goods would cripple cross border traders but the new measures would keep the informal traders in business.
Government tasked the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) to formally register cross border traders and to assess companies’ performances after the gazetting of SI 64. CZI vice-president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said, “We have agreed with the cross border traders that instead of importing goods that are locally produced, they can now buy soap, cooking oil, candles and plastics among other goods from our local companies at a reasonable price.
“Over 7 000 Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA) members are registering with the Steward Bank card so that they can be placed in the formal database as part of efforts to formalise the sector. The traders will start using the Steward Bank facility starting from October and they will buy most of the goods from our local manufacturers at a discount as an incentive depending on one’s trading history.
“This (Steward Bank) card will also help them acquire loans from the bank and other banks which are willing to finance the traders; it all depends with the history of cross border traders.”
“On the issue of importing raw materials we are closely working with them to make sure that they can get whatever they need so as to promote local industry.
“As industry we are working closely with the cross borders to help them grow soya beans, cereals and cotton among other goods in a bid to revive the local industry.”
As a result of SI64, capacity utilisation for the cooking oil industry has jumped from 50 percent to 90 percent, yeast producers moved to 83 percent from about 35 percent. Industry and Commerce Ministry posits that as a result of economies of scale, prices will be pushed downwards for instance a two-litre bottle of cooking oil is now going for about US$2, 90 from US$4,30 in 2009. sunday mail