Import basics at will!: Minister announces relaxation of restrictions

Dr Mike Bimha

Dr Mike Bimha

Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT has relaxed regulations on the importation of basic commodities into the country and has invited people and organisations with free funds to approach the Industry and Commerce ministry to obtain licences to import the goods.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said this yesterday during a press conference to address measures that Government had taken to ensure availability of basic commodities and stabilise prices ahead of the festive season.

Prices of basic commodities have been rising in the past two months due to foreign currency shortages that have seen manufacturers struggling to get foreign currency to procure basic commodities.

“What we would want to announce today is that we want to call upon companies and individuals who have free funds to import basic commodities and my ministry is ready to process permits and licences to that effect.

“You will recall that some of the basic commodities were removed from the general import licence and were now covered under various Statutory Instruments including SI 64 of 2016.

“But as we had said time and time again these SIs such SI64 of 2016 were not intended to ban the importation of products but were intended to regulate their importation and where we believe that there is demand exceeding supply we will obviously want to facilitate the importation of such commodities which is the case in point because of the demand as a result of the coming festive season and again because of the limited foreign currency available to local producers we would want to make sure that those with free funds, be they individuals or companies, they should come forward to obtain the necessary permits and licences to bring products into the market,” Dr Bimha said.

He added that the Cabinet taskforce monitoring prices would also meet this week to receive reports from inspectors monitoring prices of the basic commodities.

“We have increased the number of inspectors who have been going around monitoring prices and recording the same and we are of the view that sometime this week by Wednesday our taskforce will meet again to review progress now that a lot of information would have been made available.

“But the information we have received so far is that there are sectors and companies that have increased prices without any justification and some of these companies are in the brick-making industry, some of them in the packaging, some of them the pharmaceuticals. What is disturbing though is that some of these companies are companies that are getting a lot of support from Government,” he said.

Dr Bimha said Government would not hesitate to take action against companies that were raising prices without just cause.

“While Government is committed to supporting local producers, it cannot watch such companies profiteering for their own interest. We are not averse to price increases but we believe price increases should happen where there is justification. There are a number of measures that Government can take but our approach is really not to come up with a blanket intervention. We would want to isolate the culprits and deal with them individually. If it is the entire sector we will then address them as a sector.

“Most of our companies have licences that govern their operations and if we believe that some of these companies do not want to operate like other responsible companies we will not hesitate to withdraw their licences and take other necessary measures. So when we meet this week as a taskforce we will be able to identify such culprits and decide on what action to take,” he said.


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  • Freedom Fighter

    Hope you have learnt that you cant command an economy. Market forces at play.

    • zibulo

      a political thing , trying to “please”us and forget about Grace and the fracas going on. the people will buy from RSA, bring home beers/wines/whiskies, drink and forget that there is a problem. sinjalo thina abantu ;short sighted

  • Petrolhead

    when is the mug-ape going to sleep permanently?
    When is it going to happen?

    • Simon

      What can help you is re-connecting to old friends and especially schoolmates.

  • Arnold Ncube

    This is a clear indicator of a failed government. How stupid do you think we are? Prices are going up and now this madness. You must admit that you have failed and give us a break.

  • Mendeka

    You have the audacity to say this after the Government gas destroyed the banking sector and after collecting all the money from the citizens using your evil bond money! Now people are suffering and have no money you tell them you have relaxed imports, when you are sure you gave suffocated them!!! This system us evil indeed and there is no way out for people as they are preyed upon daily by the Government which sucks their blood. God help us.

  • Gudo

    It will not work to address price discrapancy.

    Simply put:

    Problem causing basic commodity shortage is lack of forex. It doesnt make much sense to get US$ on the black market to go and buy commodities for resale with bond $. Prices will always be high depending on prevailing exchange rates on the black market.

    Unless if the government can provide forex to everyone who wants to import at the RBZ working rate of 1:1. But then the government has no forex so what has been said is effectively nothing!

    • zibulo

      everybody please take good note of this comment. most intelligent so far: Repeat; Forex shortage caused usd to be expensive, and then the goods bought using this expensive usd are bought in bond notes !!! where will the next usd come from and will there be any imports again when the importer cant get the usd with the bond notes received from sale proceeds ??.

  • Orange

    Kkkkkk “Dr Bimha said government would not hasitate to take action against companies who raise prices with just cause”. Please minister why are you lying. When have you ever taken action against companies. You actually took action to promote such action by companies by your infamous SI 64 and the introduction of bond notes. Please spare us. You were advised early by piblic opinion but you were stuborn.

  • dubo

    Yes allow the goods to come and save our lives

  • zibulo

    we have said that that liar Busisa Moyo of CZI always talks bullshit about our economy. He claimed Industry had capacity to “produce” same goods which the Minister accepts are “now”in short supply. When we talk about COLLUSION between Business and CORRUPT State officials to syphon monies thru crises like these self-inflicted ones, when we mention there are millionaires in Business and State created when a crisis like this is DELIBERATELY IMPLEMENTED through phoney SI 64 , who listens? Now they are RESCINDING on their decisions and which company is arrested -ZERO ! Economic forces of Supply and Demand , which are nt understood by most of our black people, are the drivers of state of the economy. When ZANU decides and implements, all we need to check is , at the end of the crisiis so-created how many millions will they have made. At the Youth Interface meetings , do they doscuss Supply and Demand?

    • Thando Siziba

      well said

    • Wellington

      True that those industrialists are the most evil greedy and corrupt people in the society yet they are cry babies who want to be treated with kids gloves. They went to the govt and lied that they can now exceed national demand whilist providing cheap and affordable goods at very much competetive prices. When then given the platform they take advantage to hike prices at will. Busisa Moyo’s company cant even supply the country with 750ml bottle of cooking oil, and if its there the price is steep

      • Jenipher Moyo

        your views are as interesting as your kids are, nobody cares to hear about them for more than the usual polite minutes. Sorry to be blunt but you wanted to know…

        • Wellington

          there is a platform for stupid idiots like you try that one not here

  • Mkhusto

    Ehh this is good…… asazi ukuthi sigeze ngaphi siyabonga thina

    • True Zim

      Brainwashed and shortsighted fool getting please on fake promises.I hope that you did not graduate in marketing and basic economics.

      • Mbangi

        Is there any person who passed Economics 101 in Zim? I doubt.

  • musa

    all bark and no bite. always threatening to deal with companies but nothing is being done to choppies, ok, pick n pay and all the other companies of this world.

    relaxation of restrictions when one still needs a permit to import?

    • makhosi

      so they can give permits to their cohorts

      • musa

        true that

      • Essexvale

        If you’re open and curious about others you can make friends throughout life.

    • Cetshwayo kaGodlwayo Original

      I am sorry to say that you may need to just keep persevering or accept that your life is what it is.

  • benjamin

    A casino economy for sure.

  • God of War

    Why not just remove SI 122 for good and let people import as much as they want.

    • korokoza

      very true

  • Wellington

    Confusion at worst, why did you put that in place when you knew the local industry has no capacity to supply, because you wanted to steal from the poor through taxes and duty now you have made everyone poor then you come as saviours

    • Mthwakazi Omuhle

      You need a hobby that’s nothing to do with your job, your wife or children.

  • taneta

    After we have suffered like this it should have been relaxed well before you know you have nothing you just want to see suffering and if we vote against kill us you have failed just step down now you are using the youths what do they know nothing no wives no kids and what do you expect they can kill willing lily they have nothing to loose Zanu Pf is something else.All countries world over have rotted presidents but Zimbabwe aaaaa even Angola itself please try to learn mr Mugabe you are not the only one with leadership qualities ukafa/ungafa ke so nobody will rule this country nxaaaaaa !!!!


    Government is hiding its head in the sand like an ostrich instead of coming up with solutions to these fundamental economic problems. Bimha can shout, scream and threaten from any orifice of his choice but the problems will not go away until the fundamentals are addressed. Bad governance, a blotted civil service starting with parliament itself, lack of foresight on priorities and being honest in addressing these issues. These are the real issues which need not to be skated round. Even if people and companies manage to raise funds outside, of which there are plenty, how will those funds be repaid if the Reserve Bank does not want to make commitments????

    • Ndodana

      When will this Government learn that the only way to attract true investment to benefit any country is to have investor friendly Policies. We can spin our money around and have some sort of economy with shelves full of foreign goods bought by money from Diasporas this can only be a short term thing.

  • taneta

    Its time to adopt the Rand you fools at least you have seen you have failed!!!!!!

  • Douglas Shoko

    These are not market forces. Its thieving

  • Douglas Shoko

    The people of Zimbabwe are enemies of themselves.

    There is really no justification why one should raise the price of goods and services. The bond has no effect. But banks are thieves. Business people are not honest.

    Eggs for examples are in short supply. The chicken that laid the egg yesterday has suddenly stopped laying the egg because bond note is in use. My God. Chicken feed is still over supplied in shops but the shops make eggs scarce. Why?

    The problems you create today will never go away even in future when you change the government. The government is composed of few individuals who can be flushed out naturally or otherwise but the citizen is the majority. If the majority is dishonest to this extent then I wonder how Zimbabwe is going to be fixed.

    Zimbabwe needs man and women who can sacrifice and sweat for the country. Men and women who has the nation at heart. Men and women who put Zimbabwe first. The opportunity to solve our nation presents itself in varied forms, but the citizens are fixed on a small circle of Mugabe and his cronies. They may go tomorrow. Then what next for you.

    The business man who cheats you will continue, the banker who encourages you to syphon money from the banking halls sponsoring the money changers will continue, the corrupt local authority will continue as if he owns the town, the lazy will remain lazy.

    God has blessed us with rains. Let’s use the rains to grow our nation. Instead we chose to pollute our cities with second hand goods, with factory seconds from China. Our brothers and sisters chose to change money. Any economy needs to feed itself sustainably and we can move on.

    We create our own problems and we wish foreigners to visit us and liberate us. No ways. The level of seriousness we portray as a nation attracts development. Period. Nigeria is more corrupt than Zimbabwe but why is it still attracting investors.

    Lastly how can we develop when we don’t have a currency as a nation. To beat inflation you have to produce and consequently your currency gains. Now do we really thing that the USD will respond even if we reach 100% capacity utilisation in our industry. Its not our money. It doesn’t add any value to our economy. Infact because its a heavy currency our trading partners will shun us for being uncompetitive.

    Let’s be real. We can solve our problems. Without the USD. Without the foreigners. With our sweat.

    • korokoza

      what currency are you asking for at this moment when sharks are prepared to pounce at citizens, we do have the bond note why undermine its capabilities

  • Essexvale***

    Good move! This has the potential to return sanity in the markets through stabilising
    commodity prices. The restrictions, although crafted in good faith in so as to
    capacitate local manufacturers, have proved to be for nothing because local
    manufacturers are evidently not tooled or capacitated to produce goods in
    sufficient supply and at competitive value; the result being an open door for
    speculative pricing by manufacturers and retailers alike. It’s madness out
    there. Have you ever witnessed the frenzy of sharks feeding? Well that’s what
    current pricing regimes represent!

  • ndumba

    we are missing some of the fruits like grapes which were reasonable priced coming from Cape town

  • notsonline

    simple allow people to bring groceries and stop this nonsense to say people come get licenses, why should people coming from Botswana, South Africa, Zambia etc be given only $200 rebate? Open up or increase rebate for individuals.. Ziyelele Zabantu

  • Mus

    Minister, please musanybere vanhu, zimbabweans are hard working people, musati vanhu vasvika PA boader team renyu rotorera vanhu zvinhu vachiti they don’t know anything