Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S national trade development and promotion organisation ZimTrade, has called on Government to abolish export permits on a long list of products as part of efforts to enhance local industry’s competitiveness on the export market.
ZimTrade client service delivery director Mr Allan Majuru, recently told a Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz) annual general meeting and congress that the need for prior clearance on exports has been cited as a factor delaying business from delivering its produce to customers outside the country, making local businesses less competitive.
A proposal to scrap a long list of products from the general export license has been made. The list excludes four products- fertiliser, raw and refined sugar, timber and timber products excluding furniture and crafts- which are considered to be of strategic importance.
Mr Majuru said products that currently require export licenses – under the Second Schedule (Section 5 and 6) of the Control of Goods (Open General Export Licence), Notice, 1977, Published in Rhodesian Government Notice 873 of 1977as amended by the Notice (No. 2) of 1996, Published in Statutory Instrument 8 of 1996- include industrial equipment/machinery, gypsum, melamine boards , cooking oil, animal oil and facts (lard, tallow, dripping),butter, cream, coconut oil, cement, fertiliser, margarine, palm oil, raw sugar, timber, timber products, vegetable acid oil, vegetable fats, vegetable oils and machinery.
“We want to limit the need for export permits so that companies spend time worrying about how to export competitively and not how to be on the right side of the law because when our competitors in South Africa find an opportunity they start exporting while we spend a lot of time moving from one office to another for permits,” Mr Majuru added.
The move is expected to grow exports and turn around the country’s economic fortunes. Zimbabwe is suffering a foreign currency crisis. “The only way out of this is exports because that is our money.
“It is not borrowed money,” Mr Majuru said. This, Mr Majuru said, is part of broader efforts by the Government, through the Office of the President and Cabinet, to implement a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) to improve the Ease of Doing Export Business.
RRI was launched to enhance the country’s export earnings by tackling the impediments to the export process in the short-term and covered two main thematic areas of export capacity and export regulations, procedures and permits. “A Monitoring and Evaluation task-force has been put in place to follow up pending issues,” Mr Majuru said.
In the current year, Mr Majuru said, continuation of the work to improve the ease of doing export business through the RRI and consequently the business facilitation law is a priority.
A development of the national export strategy critical for export development and promotion is also under way.
Mr Majuru said ZimTrade proposed a new business facilitation law to supersede more than 22 existing Statutory Instruments .