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South Africa contributes 36% of Zimbabwe’s import bill

South Africa contributes 36% of Zimbabwe’s import bill

CAPE TOWN: Zimbabwe imported 36% of its US$1,328 billion import bill from South Africa; latest figures from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have shown. According to the country’s first quarter bulletin released early this week, Zimbabwe imported US$1,328billion worth of goods in the first quarter an 11% decrease from imports of US$1,493 billion recorded in the corresponding period.

Of the imports, 36% or US$476 098 034 worth of goods and services, which is the biggest contributor, were sourced from South Africa. Singapore was the second biggest source of imports contributing 25% of the import bill while China came third at 9%. Major imports in the first quarter included diesel and petrol (28%), maize (4%) medicines (4%), soya beans (2%) and wheat (2%). The importation of grains has been necessitated by drought of the 2015/16 agriculture season.

Zimbabwe’s 2015/16 was heavily affected by an El-Nino induced drought which saw agricultural output declining significantly across the sector. The 1st quarter bulletin said the poor rainfall pattern had affected production of several crops.

“With regards to maize, output was revised from the initial Budget projection of 1,2 million mt to 450 000 mt,” said the report. The poor rainfall season also affected tobacco production with tobacco sales now expected “to be 170 000 tonnes, significantly below the 198 900 tonnes recorded in the previous year.”

The 2015/16 agricultural season was officially declared a drought year following poor rainfall pattern. South Africa was also Zimbabwe’s major export destination in the first quarter with an 81% or US$504 639 696 contribution. Mozambique followed with an 7% contribution. Zimbabwe’s major exports were flue-cured tobacco (36%), gold (28%), nickel ores and concentrates (9%), diamond (3%) and ferro-chromium (2%).-fin24