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Raw materials dominate Zim’s imports list: ZimStats

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By Alois Vinga

RAW materials dominated Zimbabwe’s import list in a development which marks a departure from the past when the catalogue was highly consumptive, latest Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats)’s trade report has established.

The report, which covers the period ended June 30 2022, shows a significant shift in the quality of imports from highly consumptive to productive sensitive.

“The major imports remained mineral fuels and mineral oil products, which stood at 20, 1%, followed by machinery and mechanical appliances at 16,2% in June 2022.

“Other imports included animal/vegetable fats and oils at 8,4%, vehicles 8,1%, electrical machinery and equipment 4,3%, plastics 4%, fertilisers 2,9%, pharmaceuticals 1,7%, paper and paper products 1,4% and rubber 1,4%,”
the report said.

The data for June 2022 shows that the main exports were semi manufactured gold 22,8%, nickel mattes including platinum group of minerals 20%, mineral substances 19%, nickel ores and concentrates 16%, tobacco 4,7%,
ferro-chromium 4,1%, platinum unwrought or in powder form 2,9%, coke and semi coke of coal 2%.

The developments are consistent with current support extended by the government towards spurring productivity which has seen factory capacity utilisation rising to a 10-year high of 56,25% in 2021.

A survey of 440 manufacturing firms by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) shows that capacity utilisation – actual output measured against potential production capacity increased to 56,25% in 2021, from 47%
the previous year being the highest level since 2012.

About 38% of surveyed manufacturing companies had invested a combined $147 million to expand production in 2021, CZI said.

Another survey by an independent Civil Society Organisations lobby group, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) established that the economy managed to scale industrial capacity utilisation, recording 58% in 2021.

This was on the back of increasing the value of manufactured goods to the GDP owing to the ease in Covid19 restrictions, productive efficiency, improved access to forex and improved agricultural output in the past
season.

In 2021 alone foreign currency allotments by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe foreign exchange auction totaled US$1,9 billion with the platform firmly establishing itself as the main source of foreign currency for corporates.

The details show that a list of the 2 037 beneficiaries from the main auction platform managed to access US$1,6 billion with a total 5 288 beneficiaries for the SMEs platform accessing US$326 million.