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This study examines the protectionist policies that the Government of Zimbabwe has implemented since 2008 with Zimbabwe being at its lowest in terms of economic and trade performance up to 2018 when Statutory Instrument 122 is amended to re-insert certain processed products on the Open General Import License, which lifted the ban of imports of these products to ease the shortages the country was facing during that period. The Government through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, has gazetted several statutory instruments in the period under discussion under its import management programme as a way of countering various economic challenges that the country has been facing especially in its manufacturing sector.
This paper examines the rationale behind the abandonment of trade liberalization and adoption of protectionism in Zimbabwe. The Government has noted that, these protectionist instruments implemented under the Control of Goods Act, are meant to resuscitate the industry through elimination of competition which has arisen due to the influx of cheap imports. This has resulted in high preference for imports and decline in demand for locally produced goods thereby disadvantaging the domestic industry.
Furthermore, the economic crisis has been characterized by massive de-industrialisation with the country facing a lot of company closures and consequently massive retrenchments worsening the unemployment situation in Zimbabwe. What is left of the country is an inefficient industry and a manufacturing sector facing many capacity constraints ranging from forex shortages, low product demand, lack of raw materials, power outages, labour costs and machinery among others. Thus, the paper discusses and examines these issues surrounding the adoption of protectionism in the country and Government initiatives to negotiate the survival what is left of the industry and revive the fallen sectors whilst in the midst of an economic meltdown.
The study identifies and analyses the import management strategies implemented, tracing the evolution of these various protectionist policies. It also examines the reasons for the changes and inconsistencies that have been occurring in Zimbabwe’s protectionist policies which are characterized by constant shifts and amendments. The paper further analyses the socio-economic impact of these protectionist policies and the response of the various actors involved which include the retailers, formal and informal traders, the manufacturers and the country’s trading partners, to these policies. It evaluates the success of these protectionist policies vis-?-vis their intended aim. It contributes to debates between the protectionists and anti-protectionists on the viability and sustainability of protectionism and that of competition vs protectionism in terms of fostering economic development. Although I acknowledge the positive effects it has had in some instances, I argue that the adverse effects of protectionism on the Zimbabwean economy far outweigh the benefits that it has yielded. Furthermore, protectionism only offers a temporary reprieve for the economic challenges that the country is facing instead of being a long-term solution. Despite the implementation of these policies, Zimbabwe still does not have a vibrant, efficient and competitive industry to reckon, the country is still marred by inefficiencies in production to compete on the domestic and export market. Thus, I argue that protectionist policies in Zimbabwe have largely not been successful.
This study is an assessment of the evolution of the protectionist policies in Zimbabwe from the year 2008 with Zimbabwe being at its lowest in terms of economic and trade performance up to the year 2018 when S.I. 122 was amended to re-insert certain products on the Open General Import License, lifting the ban on imports of these products. This paper examines the development of import management in Zimbabwe tracing the evolution of protectionist policies which have been implemented under the Control of Goods Act of 1974. The paper seeks to understand, among other things, the rationale behind the abandonment of free trade and adoption of protectionism in Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2018.
The study identifies and analyses the import management strategies that have been implemented as the country plunged into the peak of an economic crisis characterised by hyper-inflation only to recover temporarily and plunge into a liquidity crunch within a decade. This paper attempts to analyse the reasons behind the changes and inconsistencies in Zimbabwe’s protectionist policies. It further assesses the challenges in the implementation of protectionist policies. The socio-economic impact of protectionism in Zimbabwe is also assessed through the lenses of S.I. 64 and its aftermath in order to make an evaluation of the extent of the success of these protectionist policies in achieving the intended aims, specifically the various Statutory Instruments that the Government of Zimbabwe has implemented to aid in the r
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