Suspends new import rules
Zimbabwe government was this week forced to eat a humble pie and suspend ban of importation of goods that range from food stuffs, building materials to agricultural inputs following a demonstration by travellers at the Beitbridge border post on Saturday.
The government last Friday gazetted a list of goods that were no longer allowed into country saying the move was meant to protect the local industry.
This is despite the fact that most industries are either closed or producing way below capacity.
Supermarkets operating in Zimbabwe that include Choppies and Pick N Pay are well stocked with goods imported from South Africa while some citizens still cross the borders for their groceries which tend to be much cheaper compared to buying locally.
Beside the demonstrations at the country’s busiest border post most consumers also took to social media to condemn the move saying it will result in price hike of most commodities and will fuel black market and benefit the ‘chefs’ (political leaders) as some of them are well known black market traders.
The list of ‘banned’ goods included coffee creamers (cremora), camphor creams, body creams, white petroleum jellies, cereals , canned foods and mayonnaise.
The list also included flavoured milk, yoghurts, dairy juices and ice creams.
Also banned are shoe polish, synthetic hair and furniture among many other things.
Confirming the suspension of the ban, a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was qouted in the media saying: “As of now, the implementation of the new regulations is suspended pending consultations between Zimra, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other stakeholders.”
The aborted ban followed a summit that was held by Buy Zimbabwe campaign in June last year aimed at promoting the purchase of local products and services saying this would enable local businesses to grow thereby encouraging economic growth and job creation.
“Spending your money on a Zimbabwean product means you also help keep the worker who made that product in their job. When you buy local, you help create jobs and in turn help alleviate poverty,” Buy Zimbabwe economist Vandudzai Zirebwa was quoted saying in the state owned Herald newspaper.
However commenting on twitter, most people felt the move was ill timed as local industries would fail to meet demand and thereby fuel black market with one Brenda Dube saying- “Mazimboa hamumazivi, you will find all these banned products ku black market.
Ko mungavadini zvavo, mirai muone”. (Knowing Zimbabweans, you will find all these banned products in the black market, what can they do, just wait and see).
Alex Magaisa concurred saying; “True, exactly what I have been saying, mashefu (political leaders) will be supplying the black market
One Shumba Mutumwa also commented saying; “Before you even go to the black market, check the offices and houses of the same governmentt officials championing the lewd Statutory Instrument”
Other twitter users said while the idea is noble, the government should have waited till the economy is stable with one Irvine saying; “Protecting local industry is a noble idea but can only be done in stable times while one user using the name ZW Enterpreneur asked, “Do our local industries have enough money to buy new machinery”?