Cross Borders Threaten Another Riot Against Import Ban

Cross Borders Threaten Another Riot Against Import Ban
Published: 2016 July 05 14:35:47 (4734 Views)

More demonstrations are being planned this coming Wednesday with the International Cross Border Traders Association (ICBTA) sending out a memo to transporters and clearing agents urging them not to load passengers and goods on the 6th of July.

“This is part of our process to force the government of Zimbabwe to abolish its statutory instrument number 64 of 2016 which ban the importation of some goods which cross border traders and shoppers used to import into Zimbabwe,” said the ICBTA in a memo.

People have resorted to demonstrations for various reasons, one of them being that the ban came as an “ambush” to importers.

Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association secretary general Augustine Tawanda was recently quoted saying the ministry was failing to issue out licences required by cross-border traders.

“You go to the ministry of Industry to get the proper documents and there are no people to assist you to get the documents,” he said. This obviously causes delays and frustrations to importers wanting to follow the new procedures.

Why The Ban Angered Zimbabweans

Another bone of contention against the ban is that it became effective at a time some individuals and companies had shipments already en route before the instrument was gazetted and before import permits were required. The list of banned products also included some products that cannot be made in Zimbabwe, something which brought more anger to affected parties including the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association.

The other reason is that most Zimbabweans are now surviving on importing products for both consumption and resale and South Africa because of better efficiencies and the weakened rand against the US dollar has been a major source of imports.

On the other hand, Zimbabwean manufacturers are failing to meet demand and in cases where they can are too expensive resulting in Zimbabweans turning to South Africa for cheaper products. Restricting these cheap imports will mean most families will struggle to survive.

Why Musina Joined The Protests

On the South African side, Musina is arguably one of the busiest border towns in Africa. This border town has been booming for more than 10 years now as dozens of retailers jostle for the non-stop flow of Zimbabweans in search of food and other goods in Musina.

While Musina has always relied on cross-border trade the demand from shoppers swung sharply since 2005 as Zimbabweans sourced for goods that are either scarce or expensive in their own country.

The introduction of SI64 will thus result in loss of business for most operators, hence the demonstrations and the blocking of roads towards the Zimbabwean border last week and threats for more.

 How The Ban Will Affect Southern Africa

What is also unfortunate about this crisis is that the Beitbridge border is also Southern Africa’s gateway from countries like Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malawi to the busy port of Durban.

South Africa’s government has since said it will continue to engage Zimbabwe for a solution that is mutually beneficial as Zimbabwe remains one of Southern Africa’s strategic growth partner.

- Fin24

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Anonymous user 2016 July 08 10:03:54
Who is Augastin Tawanda? International Cross-Border Traders Association doesn't have such a name in the committee. Fix your news and stop misleading people.

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