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Govt wants cross-border traders to buy from struggling local industries

By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |

Government is moving to entice cross-border traders to buy goods for resale from local manufacturers through subsidies and loans.

Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha

This follows an imports ban, through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 that cut sources of income for many informal traders who were buying commodities from South Africa and Botswana and reselling here.

Government insists the ban is useful so as to protect local industry and has indicated plans to add more items on the prohibited goods list.

The imports ban recently sparked riotous protests as informal traders forced the temporary closure of the Beitbridge border post where authorities were confiscating goods on the banned list.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has been tasked with registering the informal traders who will start receiving loans from Steward Bank and other financial institutions from October.

CZI vice president, Sifelani Jabangwe said they had already engaged the cross-border traders and asked them to buy locally at relatively low prices.

“We have agreed with the cross border traders that instead of importing goods that are locally produced, they can now buy soap, cooking oil, candles and plastics among other goods from our local companies at a reasonable price.

Over 7, 000 Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA) members are reportedly registering with Steward Bank.

“This (Steward Bank facility) will also help them acquire loans from the bank and other banks which are willing to finance the traders; it all depends with the history of cross border traders,” said Jabangwe.

“On the issue of importing raw materials we are closely working with them to make sure that they can get whatever they need so as to promote local industry. As industry we are working closely with the cross borders to help them grow soya beans, cereals and cotton among other goods in a bid to revive the local industry,” he added. Nehanda Radio

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