cross border traders.jpgThe Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development has urged SMEs to take advantage of several multilateral trade agreements to which Zimbabwe is a signatory to import their raw materials duty free.

The call by the SMEs Ministry to exploit duty free regimes follows an observation that emerging business people have not been fully utilising these facilities which entitle them to import raw materials at lower cost.

Zimbabwe has bilateral trade agreement with Botswana, Namibia, Malawi Mozambique and South Africa as well as multilateral agreements with COMESSA, SADC and the EU-ACP trade blocs. 

In a speech read on her behalf by the Director of Resource Mobilisation and Project Development in the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development, Ms Ethel Hlabangana, the Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, Ms Evelyn Ndlovu said SMEs involved in manufacturing should engage the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and other relevant authorities on how they can benefit from the duty free regime.

 

“I am aware that a number of SMEs are importing raw materials from other countries, which makes the cost of products high. Zimbabwe has several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and I urge all SMEs to take advantage of these trade agreements to import goods duty free,” she said.

Mrs Ndlovhu said SMEs should also engage banks that offer loan facilities for the sector to understand more on the importation of raw materials.

Government has set up several support programmes aimed at enhancing the operations of the SMEs sector which have become the backbone of the national economy.