Chinamasa explains why people now need import licences


*HON. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is with regards to the suspension of licences, or the need for requirements for licences. What licences are being talked about is a hardship on our women. Our women are being abused so that they can be issued with these licences. Why do we require these licences? The country is facing difficulties. Why do we have that and why were the people not consulted?

HON. CHINAMASA: The supplementary question is that the Hon. Member does not understand the need to address the Import Bill. Part of our challenges as an economy is the current account deficit. We are importing more than we export and a lot of the hard earned foreign currency that we make is going to buy trinkets, because we were operating in an over liberalised foreign exchange market. That has to stop so that we limit the usage of our hard earned foreign currency to importing only those goods which are critical to the development of the economy.

So, some of the measures that have been taken are to address the Import Bill, more particularly with respect to goods which are locally produced. A lot of those items which have been removed from the open general licence are locally produced. The goods locally produced are of a higher quality and it is for this august House to support our local industry, manufacturers and our local economy. Please support the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign. I thank you.

*HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. We have a SADC Protocol that entitles us to buy goods from SADC. Why are you now suggesting that we can no longer import goods into this country?

*HON. CHINAMASA: Hon. Sibanda did not listen to what I was saying. We did not say that we are banning the importation of these goods. We respect the SADC Protocol that we are talking about. Everything that we are doing is above board. It is in line with SADC Protocols. We are not barring anyone. We are saying we require one to be licenced to import such goods. It is no longer on the general open licence. That is what we are saying.

HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is the last supplementary question. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My own interpretation of licencing is as good as banning. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Let us take note Madam Speaker that these people are using their own money, not Government money to cross the border. Therefore, while they were willy-nilly crossing the border and having their passports stamped, they would come back after having used their own money. If I am going to need approval where I have got my own money in my pocket, then it is equivalent to being banned.

On the issue of the manufacturing sector in this country, the CZI President Busisa Moyo, just a few days ago said the manufacturing sector had sluggish performance in the first half of this year, which is up to June. He says he does not have accurate statistics of what is going on but however, he says performance is down to 20%. This was at the CZI Conference. Against that background, how are we going to supplement the needs of Zimbabweans in terms of supply, that we were being supplied by those who were cross border traders using their own money to import?

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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