Raw materials imports dominate Zim’s imports – Zimstat

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By Alois Vinga

RAW materials dominated Zimbabwe’s import list in the first three months of 2022, a development signifying a revival of the manufacturing sector, latest data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) show.

The Zimstat’s monthly summary of external trade statistics for the period of March 2022 shows that mineral fuels and mineral oil products stood at 15,1% in January 2022, compared to 21,5% in December 2021.
This was followed by machinery and equipment at 10,2%, fertilizer(11,8%, pharmaceuticals 8,9%, vehicles 7,8%, electrical machinery and equipment 5,1%, plastics 4,5%, animal and vegetable fats and oils 3,8%, and cereals 2,4%.
Notably, major imports in Zimbabwe were aggregated to reach 92,8% in January 2022. Cereal imports, including maize, decreased to 2,4 % in January 2022 from 3,1% in December 2021.
Rice, which makes the bulk of cereal imports, constituted 1,9% in January 2022 compared to 2,7% in December, 2021.
However, the report shows that the export list is still dominated by raw minerals, semi manufactured gold (34,6%), nickel mattes including platinum group of minerals (PGMs) (14%), nickel ores and concentrates (10,7%), tobacco (21,6%), ferro-chromium (5,2%), platinum, unwrought or in powder form (2,3%) and cotton (1,6%).
“It was noted that major minerals produced in the country, such as nickel concentrates and nickel mattes, were exported in a semi processed form, while nickel ores (including PGMs) are exported in a raw form.
 During the month of January 2022, the country exported 3 310 kilograms of semi manufactured gold valued at US$188,3 million, compared to 4 417 kilograms valued at US$248,1 million in December 2021,” the report said.
Government has been implementing a number of strategies to revamp the country’s productivity since 2019, and these statistics indicate some movement in the area.
To this end, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has supported companies with foreign currency in excess of US$2 billion since the inception of the foreign exchange auction system in June 2020.
But market watchers are of the opinion that the country needs to move at a rate which is faster than this in order to plug the huge industrial growth deficit.