Home News Buy Zimbabwe lauds narrowing trade deficit 

Buy Zimbabwe lauds narrowing trade deficit 

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Market access campaign company Buy Zimbabwe has hailed the decrease in the trade deficit from January to February 2024.

Statistics released by Zimstat show that the trade deficit registered a 44 percent decline, narrowing from US$147 million recorded in January to US$ 81.4 million recorded in February 2024.

In February Zimbabwe exported goods worth US$ 644 million and imported goods worth US$ 725.4 million while in January exports were US$ 539.9 million and imports were valued at US$ 686.9 million.

Commenting on the data, Buy Zimbabwe Chairman Munyaradzi Hwengwere said that even though the country has registered a trade deficit, the trend in recent months indicate that the gap between imports and exports in narrowing.

“The beauty about what you see within the import, export trade data is that for the last two months, l think, for the better part of the past year actually, we are still in the negative but the trend is going down. What we need to do is to have a better understanding of whether this is systematic or is it seasonal. What are the fundamentals that are driving it? Otherwise the general direction is good because in Zimbabwe our aim should be to get into trade surplus where our exports are higher than our imports,” he said.

Hwengwere emphasized the need to develop a strong import substitution framework to reduce dependency on imports.

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 “As Buy Zimbabwe we have always said that we must come with intentional programmes where we prefer locally produced goods and where companies in Zimbabwe look to substitute things that can be made in Zimbabwe and we import that which is necessary to import.

“For us to get to 2030 as espoused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa it is critical to increase the national wealth that is resident in Zimbabwe. Whenever you see a trade deficit you must understand that you are taking from your pocket, from your country and giving it to another country but as a general direction l think it is good and that’s what the ministry and the government have been espousing and have chosen that it is possible to do so. Let us remember this as an economic struggle,” added Hwengwere.

At the Buy Zimbabwe awards held last Friday to honour excelling companies and brands, Hwengwere called for urgent action to reduce the import bill.

“We must take steps to reduce the import bill. We must complete the work to ensure that our public procurement begins to favour made in Zimbabwe products, with defined local content thresholds.  We must push our treasury to incentivise companies who invest in local content. We must act now in order to ensure that opportunities that arise from the African Continental Free Trade Area do not skip us,” he said.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry Dr Thomas Utete Wushe said Zimbabwe should focus on growing the manufacturing sector to curb imports and avoid being a supermarket for other countries.

“The Ministry’s partnership with Buy Zimbabwe will not only enhance the (production and) consumption of locally produced goods but will also help ensure that we don’t end up being a supermarket for the African Continent, only getting imports from other countries, therein risk inadvertently driving our local industry out of production, at a time when we should be growing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product!” said the minister.

The Buy Zimbabwe 2023 Annual Report, says in the past four years alone, Zimbabwe’s cumulative trade deficit is US$ 6.8 billion dollars. Over that period the country imported products and services to the value of US$ 31 billion against exports of US$ 24.2 billion.

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