welshman ncube 07-05-11.jpgGovernment says Zimbabwe’s industry has to prepare for the implementation of the COMESA Customs Union next year as the three year transitional period granted during its launch in Zimbabwe in 2009 elapses.

Zimbabwe’s exporters, who have been calling for tariff protection against low cost imports from South Africa and other countries in the region, have to brace up for competitiveness ahead of the deadline for the full implementation of the COMESA Customs Union in June 2012.

Industry and Commerce Minister, Professor Welshman Ncube, who attended the 15th COMESA Summit, said the Customs Union will be beneficial for the COMESA member states and will progressively help reduce the economic disparities between some of the countries.

Professor Ncube said Zimbabwe’s industry will benefit from the Customs Union to a very considerable degree, and very rapidly if it is able to access adequate recapitalisation and if government engage in the rehabilitation of parastatals infrastructure..

“Zimbabwe and probably Kenya and Egypt are the largest economies in COMESA, so clearly we are one of the biggest beneficiaries from the Customs Union. All we need to do is to rapidly move our reindustrialisation capacity utilisation as quickly as possible to where it was a decade ago and then grow it,” said Professor Ncube.

The ultimate goal of the Customs Union is to create a single economic space where goods will circulate freely.

Under the Customs Union some benefits may be derived from joint agriculture, mining and manufacturing ventures, given the bloc’s intention to uplift value addition within member states.

Other advantages could be attained from the establishment of a regional payment system as well as enhanced investment guarantees through bloc trade pacts.