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Relaxed import duties affect Zimbabwean apparel sector
27
Mar '14
Relaxed duties on imports of fabrics and clothing are adversely affecting the Zimbabwean apparel sector, and the country could be losing around US$ 120 million in potential revenue annually because of it, said Zimbabwean Clothing Manufacturers Association (ZCMA) chairman Jeremy Youmans while addressing a parliamentary committee on industry and commerce.

According to the ZCMA website, Mr. Youmans said that the rampant tax evasion by importers, incorrect application of duties by regulatory authorities as well as a general culture to prefer imports over local products, is severely affecting the apparel sector of the country, which is currently producing only 20-25 percent of the nation demand, with the rest being imported.
 
One of the main threats is the inability of controlling the imports of clothing and assuring that the correct duties are being paid by the importers, he added.

The ZCMA chairman explained that hundreds of containers of clothing enter Zimbabwe each year, cleared under the South African Development Community (SADC) Certificate of Origin, despite the goods being seldom compliant of the necessary rules and regulations.

It is necessary that all clothing imports cleared under the SADC Certificate of Origin or the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bilateral Trading Agreement Certificate of Origin be charged duty as a deposit pending verification of authenticity of origin, which can help curb the neglect of these protocols by importers, he added.

The ZCMA chairman urged the Government to tighten control measures in order to curtail excessive imports of clothing and proposed implementation of measures to make sure customs authorities carried out physical examination on all apparel imports.

According to ZCMA, the Zimbabwean garment industry used to employ 35,000 people during 1996, when the sector was at its peak, whereas currently it employs only 6,800 people, due to various challenges faced by the sector, including excessive imports of clothing and lack of access to affordable capital and investment.

The SADC Certificate of Origin authenticates goods that originate from the region, is already being used by the member states. These rules of origin are to ensure that goods not originating from the region do not enjoy tariff preference. They are also to ensure that the region is not flooded with imports from third countries.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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