January import bill drops 21pc

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE country’s import bill dropped to $384,6 million last month from the December 2016 figure of $489,4 million, data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show.

The national import bill has been dropping in recent months largely driven by tight policy interventions the Government adopted to control imports.

Zimstat indicated that in January the country exported goods valued at $258,6 million compared to export earnings valued at $291,9 million in December.

Minerals and agricultural produce continued to dominate the country exports.

Some of Zimbabwe’s major export markets include Singapore, China, Zambia, South Africa, Belgium, Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates.

Economic analyst Ms Chipo Warikandwa commented:

“The import bill continues to drop further due to a raft of policy interventions that the Government introduced last year.

“For example, Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 removes several goods from the Open General Import Licence and this lowers the country’s import bill as goods listed can only be imported based on failure by local industry to meet demand.”

Following the adoption of a multi-currency system in February 2009, the country has experienced an influx of imported products from countries such as South Africa, Japan, China, and Brazil resulting in a negative trade balance.

Ms Warikandwa said now that the import bill was going down, the Government needs to ensure it continues implementing policies that encourage companies to export.

In this light, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced a five percent export incentive scheme to benefit exporters in different sectors of the economy.

It is also hoped that Zimbabwe’s exports would be boosted following the opening of this year’s tobacco marketing season mid next month.

– @okazunga.

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