Reduced imports saves country US$38 million

By Stanley James Business Editor

ZIMBABWE has already started benefiting from the summer cropping season bumper harvest with the country saving more than US$38 million monthly through reduced imports.

In its latest economic review report, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) says the document, which covers the period ended April 30 2021, says the import bill was relatively lower when compared to the previous month.

While the nation used to spend over US$50 million on food related imports per month, the bumper harvest has positively impacted on foreign currency savings.

Economists Dr Gift Mugano and Mr Makanaka Shambare speak on the import bill reduction trends.

“This is coming at the right time we really welcome it because it will have a positive effects on the savings and the general economic targets in terms of growth and sustainability,” Professor Mugano said.

“Government should however not relax but focus on the future on what can be done to grow exports and create opportunities for foreign currency generation,” said Mr Shambare.

Earlier this year, monetary authorities noted that Zimbabwe would save more than US$400 million this year after a reduction in food-related imports.

“Merchandise imports eased by 7,2%, from US$528 million in March 2021 to US$489,9 million in April 2021. The decline in imports in April 2021 was largely driven by slowdowns in imports of maize, crude soya bean oil and electricity. Maize imports slumped largely on account of the current year’s bumper harvest estimated at 2.7 million metric tonnes,” the bank said, adding “the general improvement in hydroelectricity generation, following rising dam levels, accounted for the fall in the country’s energy import bill.”

The country’s imports for the month of April 2021 were mainly sourced from South Africa (46,1%), China (17,0%), Singapore (6,7%), Mozambique (3,7%), Zambia (2,8%), India (2,7%) and other markets.

South Africa continues to be the major import destination of the country, followed by China, Singapore, Mozambique, Zambia and India, among other countries.