The Rapid Results Initiative, which was launched recently by the Office of the President and Cabinet, is bearing more fruits following the indefinite suspension of biosafety export permit by the National Biotechnology Authority, the country’s trade development and promotion body ZimTrade has revealed.
The export permit for all products regulated under National Biotechnology Regulations Statutory Instrument 157 of 2018 (SI 157 of 2018), was enforced in August this year and resulted in complaints from exporters who felt this permit was an impediment as it was not a requirement by regional and international buyers.
As reported by our sister paper Business Weekly in July this year, SI 157 of 2018 required importers and exporters of food, feed, food and feed additives, and seed to register with the National Biotechnology Authority (NBA) and obtain an annual permit.
Mr Henry Nemaire, chairperson of Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)’s trade committee, described some of the requirements of SI 157 of 2018 as “too onerous and too expensive”.
This, he said, was significantly impacting on exports.
“Ease of doing exports is now difficult in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Nemaire.
However, following private sector engagements with NBA and related agencies facilitated by ZimTrade, the suspended permit was one of the several
instruments that were identified as affecting export business.
Thus, this suspension has been necessitated by the need to promote exports in line with the Government’s Ease of Doing Business Reforms.
The permit requirement has been suspended until the implementation of the reform has been completed.
ZimTrade said the development is welcome as the suspension will enhance the ease of doing export business.
“The suspension of this permit will therefore create an enabling environment necessary for our country to increase exports, restore confidence among the exporting community and attract much needed foreign investment,” said ZimTrade in a statement.
ZimTrade has been engaging Government and related agencies to address statutory impediments identified under the Rapid Results Initiative (RRI).
The RRI adopted a “business unusual” approach and recommended reforms to improve the business landscape for exporters.
While some of the recommendations are still going through the administrative and legislative process, it is encouraging to note that some Government ministries and regulatory authorities have made strides to remove these impediments.