Government issues licences for gazetted products
Government has started processing licences for those with consignments which were already in transit before the statutory instrument to control the importation of various products was gazetted. Government through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce gazetted import controls under SI 64 of 2016 featuring products drawn from across industry. Some of the products included Cremora Coffee Creamers, Camphor creams, white petroleum jellies and body creams, plastic pipes and fittings, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice creams, cultured milk and cheese.
Industry Minister Mike Bimha told The Herald Business, the ministry was currently processing licences for those who had purchased consignments listed under the SI before its gazetting.
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“We have started giving licences to those who had already processed consignments before the announcement of the import controls as long as they provide evidence that they purchased the goods before the SI was promulgated. The SI is effective but we are processing licences for those with goods in transit. In fact some licences have already been issued to help importers bring in their products.”
Minister Bimha emphasised the SI was not a ban on the importation of the listed products but rather a removal of the goods on Open General Import Licence (OGIL).
“It’s not a ban . . . whoever wants to import will be issued with a licence if he/she provides a satisfactory explanation why the goods are needed in the country.
“The importers will need to tick the boxes on the reason for bringing products in such as an anticipated shortage of the product.
“We cannot ban imports as Zimbabwe is bound to other countries under various trade agreements and there is always the fear of reciprocity.”
Minister Bimha said the controls were not peculiar to Zimbabwe and more importantly were time bound.
“We can only enforce them for a period of time after which they are removed. They are only promulgated to allow companies to retool and increase capacities.”
The Industry ministry had adopted a sector
by sector approach in protecting industry and
the latest regulations were gazetted after widespread consultations from industry representatives.
Government has in the past introduced import controls on products such as cooking oil, medicines, mealie meal and selected milk products.
Minister Bimha also said the ministry in partnership with the private sector was setting up a committee to monitor the implementation of statutory instruments.
“Terms of reference have already been completed. The committee will monitor the implementation and effects of various statutory instruments. However, a more detailed announcement will soon be made.”