The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Govt Urged to Incentivise Exporters

Government should promote exports of finished products by offering incentives in order to reduce the country's trade deficit, an official said on Tuesday.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion chairperson Mr Paddy Zhanda said this in Parliament during debate on the 2013 National Budget.

Mr Zhanda said his committee was concerned with the high trade deficit and was urging the Government to explore ways of curtail it.

"The country's trade deficit continues to widen, even the committee feels that we need to incentivise our exporters in one way or the other to encourage them to export their goods, particularly those that deal with finished products," he said.

Macro-economic stabilisation which the country has experienced since 2009 helped improve capacity to bring in fuel, machinery, transport equipment and other raw materials in support of economic recovery and has seen a rebound of exports, led by platinum, gold, tobacco and cotton, among others.

Presenting the 2013 National Budget recently, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the country would remain under pressure from a high import bill, as the rebound of exports would not match the steep rise in

imports, leaving an anticipated current account deficit of 28,5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Notwithstanding that, exports, which were US$1,613 billion in 2009, rose to US$3,317 billion in 2010 and US$4,496 billion in 2011.

The country's major exports are minerals, tobacco and other agricultural produce.

The country's import bill of fuel, chemicals, machinery, and manufactured goods, accounted for 8,6 percent of GDP in 2012.

For the period January to October 2012, imports were at US$6,5 billion, compared to US$5,2 billion for the same period in 2011, representing a 26 percent increase.

This is because growth in the manufacturing sector has remained slow so demand for goods remains covered by imports.

New Ziana

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