The government has with effect from 1 February 2024 reinstated customs duty on a select list of essential goods, including cooking oil, maize meal, milk, and others.
Initially introduced as emergency measures in May to combat shortages and price manipulation, the duty-free status for these products has been revoked.
The move was aimed at regulating prices, with local manufacturers and distributors restricted from charging more than imported substitutes.
The decision aligns with broader government efforts to stabilize exchange rates and address economic challenges through measures such as wholesale auctions of foreign currency and strict control over local currency creation.
Apparently, the imposition of duty on some basics goods and services has been a relief for Zimbabwean manufacturers, under pressure from cheap imports.
Zimbabwean manufacturers operating way below installed capacity, with some running way below half capacity utilisation.
The has for long been relying on imports particularly from South Africa and Botswana.
Be that as it may, Hippo Valley late last year said taking away duty had “displaced locally produced sugar on the local market”.
Hippo’s sugar sales fell 14%, while Natfoods suffered a 9% drop in volumes in the maize meal division in the 3 months to September, due to the prevalence of cheap imported maize meal.
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