By Alois Vinga
THE huge import bill decline has enabled the country to save US$38,1 million, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) has said in its latest economic review report.
The document, which covers the period ended April 30 2021, says the import bill was relatively lower when compared to the previous month.
“Merchandise imports eased by 7,2%, from US$528 million in March 2021 to US$489,9 million in April 2021. The decline in imports in April 2021 was largely driven by slowdowns in imports of maize, crude soya bean oil and electricity. Maize imports slumped largely on account of the current year’s bumper harvest estimated at 2.7 million metric tonnes,” the bank said, adding the general improvement in hydroelectricity generation, following rising dam levels, accounted for the fall in the country’s energy import bill.
The country’s imports for the month of April 2021 were mainly sourced from South Africa (46,1%), China (17,0%), Singapore (6,7%), Mozambique (3,7%), Zambia (2,8%), India (2,7%) and other markets.
Prior to the developments, the country used to spend over US$46 million a month on the importation of maize, wheat and crude oil.
Market watchers have also attributed the cut back on the import bill to the impact of the ongoing economic reforms which have seen an upsurge in the availability of foreign currency for sourcing of raw materials to local companies.
Meanwhile the country’s merchandise exports at US$444.7 million, reflected a 3.7% decline from the previous month’s turnout of US$461.8 million.
However, compared to the month of April 2020, merchandise exports for the month under analysis were 121.8% higher.
The fall in monthly exports in April 2021 was largely due to declines in exports of industrial diamonds (58.1%), Ferro-chrome (17%) and PGMs (16.5%).
Tobacco exports at US$44.5 million were, however, 61.6% up from US$27.6 million recorded in the previous month.