Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s exports grew 36 percent to $3,8 billion in 2017 compared to $2,8 billion achieved in 2016 driven by the Reserve Bank’s export incentives. Following a dip in the country’s export receipts, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced $200 million and $300 million export incentive schemes in 2016.
Funded through bond notes, the export incentives were introduced as a way to increase the competitiveness of Zimbabwean exports, boost production and export led growth.
“Since its inception in 2016, the export incentive scheme has enhanced competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s exports and this has significantly contributed to the growth of exports which grew by 36 percent from $2,8 billion in 2016 to $3,8 billion in 2017,” said RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya in his 2018 Monetary Policy Statement released yesterday.
In light of this, export receipts totaled $7,4 billion. Of the total, gold and tobacco have remained the cash cows contributing $1,2 billion each. Both gold and tobacco subsequently accounted for the biggest share of the export incentive at $59,3 million and $59,3 million respectively.
The mining sector, excluding gold, accounted for $2,6 billion while the services sector contributed $700 million. Exports from the agriculture sector, with the exception of tobacco, totaled $426 million while mining and diaspora remittances amounted to $342 million and $782 million.
Cumulatively, $297 million export incentive has been extended with $290 million worth of bond notes were issued to banks. The country is currently pushing for an export led economic growth with various initiatives put in place to enhance exports.
Through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Government launched Ease of Doing Export Business as part of initiatives to identify the key impediments to exports as well as come up with solutions to boost the sector. A number of reforms have been undertaken under the rapid results initiative to remove any bottlenecks that hinder export growth.
Exports are the biggest contributor to foreign currency earnings according to figures from the RBZ while diaspora remittances also make a significant contribution. Zimbabwe is currently battling foreign currency challenges and an increase in exports will help narrow the deficit.