Govt to scrap SI64 •Objectives, targets achieved — Bimha •Local content policies to be introduced

Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha addresses heads of parastatals, State entities, legislators, captains of industry and other stakeholders at a workshop to review the impact of Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset, in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha addresses heads of parastatals, State entities, legislators, captains of industry and other stakeholders at a workshop to review the impact of Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset, in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
STATUTORY Instrument 64, which was promulgated last year, will now be scrapped as it has achieved its objectives and targets of boosting industrial capacity utilisation, stimulating retooling and investment into new technologies in industries, a Cabinet minister has said.This comes as Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha conceded that SI64 also ran into challenges that can only be addressed through setting it aside.

SI64 restricted the importation of certain goods that were being produced locally, as a way of refocusing attention on increasing production in local industries to create employment.

Minister Bimha said Government would now move away from enforcing SI64 and come up with other means to ensure industries continued to gain from the achievements it brought.

He said the strategy would now be to adopt smart measures like promotion of local content policy to ward off some of the challenges that were encountered during the implementation of SI64 since July last year.

Minister Bimha said this during a workshop attended by heads of parastatals, State entities, legislators, captains of industry and other stakeholders aimed at reviewing the impact of the Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset.

He said while SI64 was a huge success, some of the challenges the country encountered were retaliatory measures by trading partners in neighbouring countries.

“To address the challenge of the threat of retaliation from our trading partners, Government will replace the import management programme with a local content policy,” said Minister Bimha.

“The policy is anchored on prescribing sectoral local content thresholds for goods purchased by Government departments, industrialists and retailers, among others. Local content policy will be applied and this will be considered as a smart protection measure. We would want to move away from the Statutory Instrument. To do this, we need to consult and consult widely so that we come up with a vibrant local content policy to enhance the Buy Zimbabwe concept.”

He outlined achievements that were registered by the import restrictive legal framework, describing SI64 as a bitter pill to swallow.

“Where I come from, we say mushonga unovava ndiwo unorapa. If you can gulp that medicine, you know you will be healed. That is what we can say about SI64.”

Some of the achievements of SI64 include cuts on the import bill, increase in revenue collection, a surge in capacity utilisation of up to 100 percent and new foreign direct investments.

Some firms that were exporting products in Zimbabwe ended up setting up plants in the country, thereby creating employment.

Challenges experienced during the implementation of SI64, said Minister Bimha, included trade-off between balancing existing employment within the retail and distribution outlets that import and protection of the local manufacturing industries.

Other challenges included delays in payments to foreign suppliers of raw materials owing to foreign exchange challenges and the prevailing liquidity crunch, which was currently depressing general aggregate demand.

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  • Certified Servant

    At least it shows infant industries are not to .be protected forever. Since it has brought benefits, it may pay to scrap it gradually in phases rather than abruptly

  • Jigen Mambuya

    From the onset Statutory Instrument 64 was a failure. Thank you minister Bimha for being brave enough to openly admit that it has failed. The next question to be answered is ‘What next?’ Does the government have a plan? The answer is a big NO! Hurumende yakundikana. Tave kuda vanhu vatsva vane zvitsva zvavanotipa kuti nyika iende mberi. Ndatenda zvangu VaBimha.

    • Almost There

      It wasn’t a failure.

      I know it’s fashionable to disagree with government because of inability to shift out of politics, but if you are actively involved in the industries that improved because of SI64 …or at least a member of business associations like ZNCCZ(and affiliates), CZI you would know. We talk facts there, where they are right on S61, they have been right, where they’ve gone wrong, we have disagreed with them….no holds barred.

      There are many ways it could’ve been done better, but the intervention certainly helped jump start industry that was struggling to get out of the water.

      I invite you to become an associate member of any of those institutions and to (for a moment) remove political prejudice and hear the facts,figures,mistakes and merits…

      The Local promotion campaigns are good if executed well, though many of us have misgivings about Munyaradzi Hwengere and his militant way of doing things. But the good thing about it is that any promotion is good …and no one owns rights to promotions so we too can incentivise and promote.

      I urge them to really listen in their proposed consultative processes.

      I urge them to have creative government instituted incentives like tax incentives for those that buy local particularly in the b2b pipeline raw producer -> processor/manufacturer -> wholesaler -> retailer WITHOUT CORRUPTION

      • john

        But this is not how things are done in Zimbabwe. The policy stipulates local sourcing eg: vehicles – but the Government purchases Mercedes E350 for its members from outside Zimbabwe instead of supporting local vehicle suppliers eg: Willowvale Motors. The povo sees this as says why should we purchase locally when our own Government refuses to abide by its own policies.

        Zanu-PF is the same – purchases 366 vehicles – but doesn’t source them locally in Zimbabwe – it imports them.

        You can’t have policies in place that no-one follows it means it is just a piece of paper much like Zim-Asset. The rate at which the Zimbabwean Government is currently “approving mega projects” in Zimbabwe come election time 2018 the 2 million jobs will have beeb created on paper.

  • Truth

    Is capacity utilisation now at 100%?

  • Sekuru Wanguda

    kkkk the thing failed comradees zvaramba izvi fungai zvimwe

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    SI64 was a success? While confining us to purgatory with idiotic policies ZANU was busy importing campaign cars cars. So much for buying local. Hypocrites.

  • chandida

    when?

  • Cecil Roars

    You are right but given that its this banana republic with no knowledge of policy formulation the errors are always very predictable. Effective policies are not rushed and they should be research; knowledge based while at the same time being inclusive. You do not see this in a banana republic of Zimbabwe.