Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
AT least 22 Statutory Instruments need to be reformed under the Rapid Results Approach (RRA) to ease of doing export business, but implementation process is slow, threatening the ultimate goal of an export driven economy.
The RRA was adopted by Government to amend any regulations that impede the process of exporting goods by local manufacturers among them high costs of production, complex and burden-some procedures and limited access to affordable long term trade finance.
This is premised on the notion that exports have potential to drive economic growth while at the same time reducing the trade deficit. The initiative, which is being spear-headed by the Office of the President and Cabinet in conjunction with Ministry of Industry and Commerce and ZimTrade is in line with Government’s plan of achieving export oriented economic growth.
In line with this, two thematic groups were introduced, one on export capacity and the other on export regulations, which then identified regulations and 22 Statutory Instruments that pose challenges to exporters. However, implementation of such reforms is happening at a slow pace.
ZimTrade chief executive Ms Sithembile Pilime said the slow implementation of the reforms was worrisome given the current trade imbalance currently existing.
“There were serious commitments in the first 100 days but there has not been much progress on the implementation. “The pace of implementation is exceedingly slow in the face of our challenges and trade situation,” said Ms Pilime during a 100 day mid-term review programme of the second phase of the RRA.
Between January and March, exports took a 13 percent dip while imports ballooned by 37 percent. This, Ms Pilime said, provided enough scope for all stakeholders to speed up the implementation process to promote export growth. “The statistics show that we need to urgently address trade issues and increase our exports. It is a worrisome trend.
“The country should derive benefits from the resources it is endowed with, we need to increase exports,” she said. One of the goals of the RRA was to reduce the time and cost of exporting by 50 percent while improving exports by 5 percent.
Other areas identified as impediments to export procedures but with no specific statutory instrument to back them were multiple police roadblocks on the country’s roads which were said to project a negative image of the country, apart from causing delays in transportation of products.
Chairperson of the thematic group on export regulations Mr Benison Ntini said multiple roadblocks on the country’s highway curtailed movement of goods, which was frustrating business.
He said the number of roadblocks have to be reduced while there is also need to improve efficiency at the country’s ports of entry. “Roadblocks are still an issue. You cannot have production efficiency when your goods are delayed because of roadblocks.
“It is also worrisome when people spend time in queues, be it at the border posts, they should spend time producing, that is the only way we can improve,” said Mr Ntini.