Zimbabwe’s trade balance stood at a negative $3 billion in November last year as imports continued to outpace exports, statistics released yesterday shows.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said imports at $5.79 billion between January and November last year, nearly doubled exports which raked in $2.8 billion.
South Africa, Belgium, Botswana, China, Germany and Israel were among the top destinations where local products were being exported.
On the other hand, imports flooding the country and choking the struggling local industry were coming from South Africa, Singapore, Sweden, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, China, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The government, through Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, has lamented the growing reliance on imports and took some measures to try and curtail them in the 2015 National Budget which he presented in December last year.
Besides electricity and fuel, the bulk of the imports have been described as non-essential as they are consumptive in nature.
Chinamasa said reliance on cheap imports was putting pressure on the struggling local industry which was leading to company closures.
The imports include semi-processed products such as dough, rolls, buns, plain bread and cakes.
Continued importation of these products reduces the competitiveness of locally manufactured products, thereby exacerbating the trade balance.
While measures such as duty hikes have been introduced to curtail imports, the government anticipates that they will go up by nearly two percent to $6.5 billion this year while exports will grow by five percent to $3.83 billion. – New Ziana.