By Christopher Makaza
Citizens have welcomed Government`s indefinite amendment of Statutory Instrument (SI) 122 of 2017 to allow companies and individuals with offshore and free funds to import specified basic commodities that are in short supply due to speculative behaviour of local retailers and panic buying by customers.
Consumers argue that local producers failed to appreciate the protection they got from Government after it introduced the SI 64 of 2016 which prohibited the importation of some products which were locally produced in an effort to boost the local industry.
Some of the goods which people can now import into the country include, Cooking Oil, Fertiliser, Finished steel roofing sheets, Cement, Wheat Flour and agro-chemicals among others.
In an interview with Harare Post, Cotton Producers and Marketers Association Chairman Stewart Mubonderi says the development is very welcome especially in the agricultural sector where fertiliser manufacturers in particular are failing to meet local demand.
“We highly welcome the indefinite lifting of imports ban as the agricultural sector is affected by shortage of fertilisers. We currently have about a quarter of the needed fertiliser. Farmers are currently in need of agricultural inputs as they are doing final land and inputs preparations.
“Herbicides are also in short supply so the move will improve their availability as well as affordability on the market,” he said.
Mr Mubonderi, however, said he call upon Government to move a step further and allow for a three month duty free of the imported products so that they become more cheaper on the market for the good of the farmers.
Kudzai Mutisi on his twitter page posted, “Some folks are saying lifting the ban will hurt local industries, l don't think so. I think it will hurt local Cartels. Real entrepreneurs do not need protection, they can adapt to any environment and thrive. There is no need for Government to babysit businesses, they must compete.”
Writing on his twitter handle, Petros Matutu said, “Much appreciation Minister. Giving credit where it is due. Never sacrifice the public in the name of protecting local industry which is corrupt and not able to satisfy demand. The next step should be removing the Bond money. Who is really benefiting from it?”
Prisca Mutema on her twitter page posted, “Suspension of SI/122 is welcome. It should be repealed altogether. Let industry sink or swim on its own. All research confirms this route creates stronger, more resilient companies, founded and run by true entrepreneurs, instead of arbitrage entities suckling at Government's breast.”