Industry Boost :Machinery Tops Zim’s Import Bill

Importation of machinery in various productive sectors of the economy dominated Zimbabwe’s import bill during the month of June as industry continues to retool, latest figures from the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency, (Zimstat) show.

According to the figures, machinery constituted 13.5 percent of total imports of US$ 558.1 million during the period.

Experts have often criticized the country’s import composition which has in the past year dominated by non-essential products or commodities such as maize which the country has capacity to substitute.

“Main imports in June 2021 were machinery (13.5 %) fuels (11.2%) fertilizers (10.6%) vehicles (7.5%) animal and vegetable oils (5.0%) pharmaceuticals (4.3%) and cereals (4.1%),” said Zimstat.

During the same period imports grew by 10.0 percent to US$ 558.1 million from US$ 507.3 million recorded in May 2021.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been suffering from low productivity in productive sectors of mining, manufacturing and agriculture owing to antiquated machinery.

This has led to the country’s output losing its competitiveness against import products.

The latest trends in retooling by most companies are hence a welcome development going forward as it will improve efficiency in production.

According to Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector in 2020 grew to 47 percent-an improvement on the 2019 levels, it still remained below 50 percent, which is below sustainable levels.

Meanwhile, the value of total exports in June was US$ 502.5 million, signifying a slight increase of 3.2 percent from total export earnings of US$ 487.0 million in May 2021.

“The increase in total export earnings in June 2021, compared to May 2021 is attributed to a sharp increase in semi-manufactured gold and nickel mattes exports, while tobacco exports receded in June 2021,” said Zimstat.

Zimbabwe’s main exports during June 2021 were semi manufactured gold (28.2%) nickel mattes, ores and concentrates (43.6%) and these minerals constituted a total of (71.7%) in total export earnings.

Tobacco exports receded significantly to 3.6% in June 2021 from 21.8 percent in May 2021. This decreases in tobacco emanated from a reduction in the volume of tobacco exported from 13.2 million kilograms in May 2021 to 5.2 million kilograms in June 2021.


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