The Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association has hailed the upward review of import tariffs for clothing that was effected on the 1st of this month in line with the 2012 national budget.The change in import tariffs has begun to positively impact on the local clothing manufacturing industry.
Information from the clothing manufacturing association indicates that there has been a considerable increase in the number of companies registering with the National Employment Council for Clothing and a slowdown in job layoffs this January.
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturersâ€™ Association president, Mr. Jeremy Youmans said there is nothing essentially bad with imports, but local industry that is still recovering from a decade long recession was suddenly faced with massive competition from the East that recorded exponential growth in the same period.
Cross border traders are however unhappy with the removal of clothing from the travellers rebate list, with government hinting that it might revise the duty tariffs although some analysts have questioned the positives of supporting imports at the expense of an industry that supports a whole chain of production right down to cotton farmers.
At its peak in 1999, the local clothing manufacturing industry supported 35 000 employees but the numbers have since dwindled to 9 000.
It is anticipated that if the custom duties for clothing items are to remain unchanged, the competitive advantage of local clothing manufacturers will be transferred to the customers.