Govt assesses impact of import controls

Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
THE Ministry of Industry and Commerce intends to engage consultants to review the design, implementation and impact of Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017, which restricts the importation of products that can be produced locally.

SI 122 of 2017, which was upgraded from SI 64 of 2016, came about as Government sought to protect the local industry from unfair competition posed by imported goods.

The imports adversely impacted on local producers, some of whom ended up scaling down operations, while others closed down as they could not keep up pace with lowly-priced imports.

This saw the restriction of 43 products such as cooking oil, margarine, dairy products and cement, among others, to conserve foreign currency through containing the import bill.

Further, the move was designed to allow the local industry to regain its footing and create more jobs.

In a Government Gazette published yesterday, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce wants to establish whether or not the move to curtail imports has been relevant, effective and sustainable.

“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce wishes to engage consulting services relating to the review, as systematically and objectively as possible, of the design, implementation and impact of Government’s import management programme through various statutory instruments now consolidated under Statutory 122 of 2017,” reads the gazette.

“The review exercise should determine the relevance and fulfilment of objectives, developmental efficacy, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the policy.”

The Government wants the evaluation to provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of recommendations into the decision-making process of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Interested consultants are required to provide information demonstrating they have the required qualifications and relevant experience to undertake the key project.

Critically, the consultants must be legal entities that are also registered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).

Since SI 64 of 2016, now SI 122 of 2017, came into force on July 2016, a number of companies have been established, while existing ones have ramped up capacity utilisation due to the protectionist policy.

As at October 2018, the cooking oil expressing sector had seen four new players since 2010, while employment expanded from 700 to 2 000.

Some investments that came following the regulations included Varun Beverages, which produces Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Mirinda soft drinks; Willowton, a cooking oil producing company in Mutare and Trade Kings Zimbabwe, one of whose popular products is Boom washing powder.

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