The African Medallion Group (AMG) has been given a green light by government to import basic commodities into the country, in a move which is expected to ease shortages and reduce prices during the festive season.
This was after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration recently relaxed regulations barring the importation of basic commodities following a spate of price hikes in October that saw annual inflation surging to over 20 percent.
Statutory Instrument 122 was put in place by the government to prevent items such as groceries‚ building materials and furniture from entering the country‚ in an attempt to stimulate domestic production.
But government was forced to temporarily lift the ban to protect consumers’ disposable income, which were quickly being eroded by rising inflation.
Industry minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu told businessdaily that AMG was free to import goods into the country. “…for basic goods following the amendment of SI 122 you don’t need a permit,” he said.
AMG, which is based in South Africa, last week indicated that it planned to use about $35 million to procure and deliver basic commodities, fuel, pharmaceuticals and other products that are in short supply.
With the disappearance of hard currencies on the streets and the introduction of a controversial two percent tax‚ retailers were forced to hike their prices‚ because buying foreign currency such as the United States dollar and South African rand using the local bond notes became more expensive.
Notable price increases have been on items such as bread, sugar, cooking oil, sanitary pads‚ hair products‚ milk‚ whisky and even locally produced products such as bricks and cement.
Estee Mamman, the AMG chairperson, also requested the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to assist the company with swift clearance at border posts to enable the gold jewellery firm to help address the country’s economic challenges urgently.
“We urge you to assist African Medallion Group with processing of the necessary import documentation expediently so that we can address the needs of the people with the urgency this matter requires.
“Within seven days we will be commissioning the process,” she said in a letter addressed to Zimra Commissioner-General Faith Mazani.
Mamman said AMG will be responsible for local logistics and distribution and also invited Zimra agents to supervise the entire process. DailyNews