Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s exports have increased by 20 percent in the first 10 months of the year to $352.9 million, official figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show.
In January, the country exported goods valued at $291.9 million and as at the end of October exports were valued at $352.9 million showing a 20.89 percent increase.
The positive trend could be attributed to a number of Government support initiatives such as the export incentive and improved volumes as a results of import controls.
Although the value of exports had increased during the period under review, Zimbabwe still faces a negative trade balance as the value of imported products continued to rise from $385 million in January to $460 million last month.
Last week, the Government announced that it had amended four statutory instruments that were hindering growth of exports. The regulatory frameworks were among a set of 22 policies that have been submitted to the Attorney General’s office for a review on the back of the need to improve exports and address the challenges facing exporters.
It is hoped that the amendments will impact positively by repositioning the country as a safe and viable destination for doing business and stimulating exports earnings in the economy.
Zimbabwe’s exports were largely driven by tobacco and minerals such as gold, platinum and diamonds.
So far, more than $600 million has been raised from tobacco exports and stakeholders in the sector target to generate more than $1 billion from exporting the golden leaf to different countries across the world.
At present, the country exports flue-cured tobacco to over 60 countries including Jordan, United States of America, Japan, Britain, China, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Russia, and South Africa.
As at September 15, 2017, Zimbabwe’s mineral export earnings increased by 25.1 percent to $1.692 billion premised on improved mineral production across the board. During the same period in 2016, cumulative mineral exports stood at $1.352 billion.
The Government has pointed out that higher production figures could have been realised were it not for the incessant rains that affected gold production in the first quarter of 2016.
Mining, which is one of the country’s major economic mainstays and the largest foreign currency earners, last year generated $2.2 billion up from $2.1 billion in 2015.