The indefinite amendment of Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017 (SI 122) will not threaten the existence of the local industry as government is committed to protecting it through foreign currency allocation and retooling while alleviating the current shortages of basic food stuffs.
By Melody Chikono
Government introduced the controversial SI 64 in 2016 in a bid to protect the local industry and later amended it to SI 122 and restricted certain goods if not licenced.
On Tuesday government made amendments to the instrument following the shortages of basic commodities, resulting in high prices being charged for the goods.
Head of legal services in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Never Katiyo told businessdigest on the sidelines of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (Icsaz) capital raising conference in Harare on Wednesday that government was waiting to see how the market was going to react to the amendment of the instrument, but remained committed to protecting the local industry.
“The instrument was not repealed, but amended in response to the ongoing situation so we will see how the market reacts, but that it will not destroy local industry as the government has pledged to continue to give support through foreign currency allocation and continue to look for more foreign currency hoping that the companies will remain competitive and live up to the expectations,” he said.
Katiyo said retooling companies’ was one of government’s priorities so that it continues to grow and assist in governments efforts for value addition.
In a keynote speech read on behalf of the Minister of Industry and Commerce at the same event, Katiyo said the issue of interest rates charged by financial institutions continue to be of concern and is a major impediment to growth and competitive production of goods.
“The cost of borrowings significant and is generally short-term. For our large companies who are mostly in the manufacturing sector to be revived and grow sustainably they need reasonably priced loans or capital.
“Adequate and affordable funding will allow the manufacturing sector to produce products for both the domestic market and for export and in the process create more jobs,” he said.
He said the ministry was working on various programmes to industrialise the economy and financial support is key to the implementation of projects.