Harare — Zimbabwe has lifted a two-year ban on the import of basic commodities, in a move likely to be welcomed by South African businesses. The lifting of the ban seeks to allow importation of products in short supply as Zimbabwe is facing critical shortages of commodities such as cooking oil, sugar and cement, which have run out in shops as a result of panic buying and low productive capacity from ailing industries. In 2016, Zimbabwe’s government introduced statutory instrument (SI) 64, before reinforcing it with SI 122 of 2017; both limited importation of a long list of basics as a part of strategy to protect local industries. However, Zimbabwe’s industries have failed to step up to the plate and the country still receives a large chunk of its consumer and retail goods from SA. Figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency last week show that Zimbabwe imported goods from SA worth $193.6m in September, reflecting a 17% increase from imports worth $175.4m the same per...

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