Mixed Feelings On Lifted Imports Ban
The amendment of the Statutory Instrument (SI) 122 of 2017 to allow companies and individuals to import basic commodities that are currently in short supply has brought with it mixed feelings from individuals and companies.
The specified commodities to be allowed in the country include ice cream, fertilizer, cheese, flour, cooking oil, bottled water and finished steel roofing sheets.
Most locals felt the action taken by Government came just in time as it was going to ensure that basic goods become available and affordable.
United Refineries Limited chief executive and former CZI president, Mr Busisa Moyo said the suspension of SI122 has its disadvantages on the economy.
“The Statutory Instrument was meant to help the industry and protect it from unfair competition from imports,” he said.
“Although the suspension will help stabilize the prices of basic commodities, I do not see this working in the long run. Prices of basic commodities will go up, this will worsen the foreign currency situation in the country”, he said.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, however, said it supported the amendment of SI1222 as this allowed the ordinary citizen to access affordable goods from neighboring countries.
CCZ executive director, Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said they had advocated for the opening of the borders so that consumers could get goods that were in short supply.
“ We advocated for the opening of the borders after the challenge of empty and high prices for basic commodities. People could no longer afford basics such as cooking oil.
“ Through the opening of the borders, prices can go down because of the competition.”
“Christmas is around the corner so we hope this temporary measure will improve food supplies. People do not want to be stressed with high prices or food shortages during the festive season,” she said.
Ms Siyachitema added that the reprieve will allow Government to look into the real causes of the current shortages.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director, Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday said the move taken by the Government was good for farmers as they can now easily import inputs. He said the only challenge was that most farmers did not have foreign currency.
“ It is good for people to import inputs if they have the foreign currency. The only challenge is that people will be forced to look for foreign currency on the parallel market and rates will continue to increase. This may reflect on retailers who may also increase prices of commodities”, he said.
The import ban is being lifted following the price hikes of basic commodities and the shortages of products in the country.