Zimbabwe narrowed its trade deficit to $2.87 billion in the first 10 months of the year from $3.8 billion in the same period in 2013, latest trade data from the national statistics agency shows.
Figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat)show that imports between January and October amounted to $5.29 billion while exports trailed at $2.42 billion as the economy’s continues its reliance on imports due to a faltering local industry.
In prior year, imports in the first 10 months of the year amounted to $6.6 billion while exports stood at $2.8 billion.
Chocked by a host of operational challenges chiefly absence of cheap working capital, antiquated equipment and stiff competition from imports, Zimbabwe’s industry is struggling to redevelop after years of economic downturn.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says industry is currently operating at 36 percent down from 39.6 percent last year, with an estimated $2 billion required in the short-term to boost industry fortunes.
Government has, however expressed concern at the high level of imports, the bulk of which are consumptive, and has promised to introduce new measures to curtail them in the 2015 budget set for presentation by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa next week.
According to Zimstat, some of the imports are fish, milk, cheese, sausage casings, agricultural products including maize, sugar related confectionaries, biscuits, electrical energy, chemicals, fertilisers, vehicles and generators.
Some of the exports include beef, agricultural produce including tobacco products, wines, minerals and scrap metal.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya last week said Zimbabwe’s struggling economy would perform better if imports were curtailed.
“After dollarisation (in 2009) we went on an importing spree,” he said.
“We are (currently) exporting more than we did when the economy was performing at its peak. Our biggest problem is imports.”- The Source