THE parliamentary portfolio on Industry and International Trade has raised concern over what it termed invasion of the local retail sector by foreign imports.
Acting chairman Moses Mzila Ndlovu said his committee had realised that the local retail sector was being disadvantaged by the influx of cheap products on the local market.
He said the products were creating problems in areas of employment as jobs were being lost because the local industry was retrenching in light of slow business caused by loss of market share.
Ndlovu, who is MDC MP for Bulilimamangwe, said there was an urgent need for the government to look into the situation since the economy was at risk.
“This issue has to be looked into. We are going to investigate the origins of these products and how they end up in the country,” said Ndlovu.
“We hope the country’s markets have not been used as a dumping ground for these businesses,” said Ndlovu.
Other members of the committee are Chris Chigumba, Trudy Stevenson, Ray Kaukonde, Osward Chitongo, Daniel Ncube, Willias Madzimure and Timothy Mukahlera.
He said there were other issues that had to be clarified such as how these traders were accessing their foreign currency and if they were paying duty for the products.
“We have concerns on how these businesses are accessing their foreign currency to import their products, sure they are not getting it from the auction,” said Ndlovu.
“We really need to find out how these products are entering the country because there have been reports that they are not paying duty because of political ties,” he said.
He said the country could not be held to ransom because of political ties with some countries it has trade agreements with, especially when the country was being prejudiced of customs duty and taxes.
“How can the country really watch its economy being held to ransom because of the need for foreign currency and protection of political friends?” said Ndlovu.
For the past three years, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a massive influx of goods mostly from Asian countries.
Many of the products that eventually find their way into the country are sub-standard.
He said the government needed a clear policy on how to handle its imports especially with countries that pose a threat to the survival of the local industry.
Ndlovu said the government had taken a clear contradictory position on what was happening in the local industry.
“There is a direct contradiction, whilst we have a clear position on what is on the ground, the government has taken its own position on the issue,” said Ndlovu.
He said there was also a need to establish how exactly the country was benefiting from the foreign business people.
“I wonder what we are benefiting from the current arrangement because there are doubts if there is any inflow of foreign currency from the businesses. We really have to distinguish what is politically correct and what is good for the economy,” he said.
He said the committee would recommend that Zimra and the Reserve Bank investigate the organisations.