Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha has made another u-turn on Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 and said that it is here to stay.
Over the weekend Bimha said that Government had decided to remove SI 64 after claiming that it had achieved its targets. The decision to remove the policy came about after other countries in the SADC region had responded by coming up with retaliatory measures to counter Zimbabwe’s policy. However in an interview on the sidelines of a Hanawa Super Foods plant tour yesterday, Bimha said that SI 64 would remain in place indefinitely depending on industry’s ability to meet local demand. Said Bimha:
There is no tenure for SI 64. It varies from product to product, sector to sector; that is why I am saying a report from the evaluation committee will give us information that can help us, to say for this sector, how long can we go because we need facts that are objectively derived. Many local manufacturers had managed to retool and re-equip, with others coming forward for assistance on how they can benefit from the policy. SI 64 is meant to give room to retool and re-equip. You cannot do this in six months or one year. It would be ironical for Government to say we are putting up a measure to allow companies to re-tool and re-equip and then only after a year we say we are going to scrap it off, it does not make sense. SI 64 is still here to stay.