Government has lowered duty for people with free funds to import basic groceries, as one of the measures to contain price rises of basic commodities triggered by manufacturers and importers that have been pushing up wholesale prices.
In addition, farmers who deliver their produce to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will now be paid 30 percent of their crop in United States dollars as part of cocktail of incentives to encourage early delivery of grain and ensure Zimbabwe maximises local production and minimises food imports. Up to now all grain deliveries were being paid for, in local currency.
The new measures were announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube who said Government had been seized with various initiatives aimed at stabilising the economy.
These measures include the desire to contain inflationary pressures, and restore the purchasing power of the local currency, with the primary goal being to increase the domestic and external competitiveness of the economy, create and preserve jobs.
The measures were also meant to improve livelihoods while limiting damage to the economy particularly in the face of Covid19 and more recently, the impact of the geo-political tensions in eastern Europe.
“To further ensure that citizens have access to affordable basic commodities, in the face of recent substantial price increases in the shops, the government hereby opens up imports of basic commodities by citizens, through the lowering of import tariffs and other accompanying measures. This is with immediate effect.
“Those with free funds are, with immediate effect, permitted to make use of these funds and other resources to import basic commodities,” said Prof Ncube.
“In the quest to incentivise farmers and encourage early deliveries of maize and other grains to the Grain Marketing Board, Government has taken the decision to pay the maize farmers 30 percent of the amount due on grain delivered in United States Dollars and 70 percent in domestic Zimbabwe dollars.
“The US dollar payment will be calculated at the prevailing willing buyer willing seller rate published by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the date of delivery. The payments will be backdated to the date of the first deliveries of this season’s maize to GMB.”
He said Government was fully aware of the sacrifice being made by Zimbabweans in the effort to stabilise the economy.
“Macro fiscal stabilization has been achieved largely through fiscal consolidation and the resultant attainment of both fiscal balance and stabilisation of the current account, as well as increased domestic production of goods.
“Government is grateful for, and fully recognises, the sacrifice and cooperation of all Zimbabweans in the ongoing effort to stabilise the economy, which is now on a firm foundation for growth,” he said.
Commenting on the new measures, Parliament’s Budget and Finance portfolio committee chairperson Dr Mathew Nyashanu commended the Government for coming up with a cocktail of measures to stabilise the economy.
“Government has come up with a cocktail of measures to enhance market discipline, to tame inflation and exchange rate volatility and improve market confidence. Month-on-month inflation had moved from 7.7 percent in March to 96.4 percent in April. This inflationary pressure is as a result of exchange rate induced prices,” said Dr Nyashanu who is also Buhera Central MP (Zanu-PF).
He described the decision allowing those with free funds to import basic commodities as well thought out.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Mr Kurai Matsheza said they will soon engage the Government on the policy pronouncement.
“We have been focussing on trying to localise production of goods and services. We are going to engage the Minister on that given that we feel that it is time to allow the localisation of production of goods and services. This policy might result in the exportation of jobs,” he said.