CZI: Imports ban useless without foreign currency

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GOVERNMENT’s move to restrict imports is helpless to the economy without adequate foreign currency, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Busisa Moyo has said.
Speaking to journalists in the capital last Wednesday, Moyo said the current liquidity crunch has defeated the purpose of Statutory Instrument 64 which banned the importation of products that are locally manufactured.
“This is the worst time that we could have a liquidity crisis when we have localised production.
“Now we are unable to import raw materials. It is significant for our country and it deserves our attention,” he said.
SI64 was introduced as a policy measure aimed at promoting local industry.
Although there has been reportedly significant improvement in capacity utilisation since its introduction, consumers have been complaining about high prices driven by high local production costs and inadequate supply of the locally made products.
The problem has been blamed on the limited funds available to business from treasury to procure domestically unavailable raw materials from other countries.
To abate the crunch, government introduced bond notes and a five percent incentive for exporters. However, the impact is yet to be felt.
Moyo made the remarks on SI64 responding to questions on the relevance of the CZI annual symposium scheduled for the 26th of this month in Harare to discuss and craft possible solutions to the country’s economic quagmire.
The symposium will be held under the theme Interim and Long-Term Strategies to Address   Zimbabwe’s Economic Challenges: Ease Liquidity, Reduce Costs and Grow Exports.
Although he could not provide figures for money owed to suppliers by manufacturers, Moyo said the rest of the industry has been adversely affected by the biting foreign currency shortages.
“From the largest corporates to the smallest companies, they have all been affected. What is available is not sufficient.
“The country is in a crisis. It can’t be business as usual. Businesses are closing, applying for short time and laying-off workers,” Moyo said.
Speakers at the symposium include SADC economic advisor Anthony Hawkins, USAID Economist Ashok Chakravarti, Crystal Candy Managing Director Jimmy Psillos, chief executive officer of ZimTrade Priscilla Pilime and several government ministers.Advertisement