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MID­YEAR ECONOMIC BRIEF

MID­YEAR ECONOMIC BRIEF

( January 2013 - June 2013)

Research Department

September 2013

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Zimbabwean economy has performed positively during the past five years of the Government of National Unity (GNU), February 2009 to June 2013. The growth rate during the period rose from ­14.8% in 2008 to 5.7% in 2009, 8.1% in 2010 and 9.3% in 2011 before decreasing to 5.6% (estimates) in

2012 (downward review from 9.4%). [1]

The growth experienced between 2009 and 2011 was mainly underpinned by the positive developments in the mining, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and communication sectors. On the other hand, the slowdown experienced in 2012 was mainly as a result of the under performance of key sectors of the economy, mainly agriculture. However, the overall growth of real sectors remain sub­optimal given the financial and power supply challenges the economy is currently experiencing.

The introduction of the multi­currency regime in 2009 also brought about price stability thereby helping to suppress the rate of inflation which had sky­rocketed to alarming levels of over 230 million percent. However, between 2009 and 2013, year on year inflation fluctuated below 7% and reaching its peak in 2010 of 6.1% in May. Inflation pressures were felt during the last half of 2012 and first half of 2013 with annual inflation falling below 3%. The inflationary pressures were mainly attributed to the firming of international prices and the firming South Africa Rand against the US

Dollar.

However, the past five years experienced economic stability and growth which did not bring about employment creation, infrastructure development, improvements in the standard of living, increase in power and water supply among other top major challenges in the economy. Despite economic stability and growth experienced during the GNU era, political uncertainty, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, huge influx of imports and liquidity constraints heavily affected the economy's performance, hence the top major economic challenges remain unaddressed.

2.0 GLOBAL ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENTS

The global economy continues to face significant uncertainty, with more risks tilted towards the downside. Most world regions like some emerging markets in Asia and some developing countries in Africa are likely to see a moderate strengthening, but growth will still remain below potential. Global growth increased only slightly from an annualized rate of 2.5% in the second half of 2012 to 2.75% in the first half of 2013. [2] The under performance was basically as a result of the following;

• continuing growth disappointments in major emerging market economies such as infrastructure bottlenecks and lower commodity prices.

• deeper recession in the Euro area and the impact of tight fiscal and financial contraction.

• that the US economy expanded at a weaker pace.

Financial market volatility increased globally in May and June after a period of calm since last year. In advanced economies, longer­term interest rate and financial market volatility have risen. However, the Euro area will remain in recession in 2013, with activities contracting by over 0.5%. [3] [4] The recession will have a negative impact to some poor countries across the globe, in particular developing countries in the Sub­Saharan Africa like Zimbabwe, which relies heavily on donor funding.

3.0 REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS

Africa is expected to grow by 4.6% in

2013, which is a downward revision by 0.2%. The revision is owing to the

negative impact of the slowdown in developed economies on economic activity. Africa's trade and investment ties with emerging and developing economies have intensified during the first half of 2013 and are expected to intensify further.

In the Southern Region, growth is expected to strengthen slowly, pulled down mainly by South Africa, which faces massive labour market challenges. High unemployment combined with massive under employment, continue to constitute a major policy challenge in many African countries.

4.0 REAL SECTOR

DEVELOPMENTS

4.1 Agriculture

The under performance of the agricultural sector during the 2012/2013 summer cropping season has significantly affected the country's economic growth such that the projected growth of 9.4% was reviewed downwards to 5.6%. [5] Production of maize, groundnuts, soybeans, sorghum and cotton dropped due to the poor rains experienced during the period leading also to the downward revision of

agriculture growth rate to 5.4%. [6]

Maize production of about 798 600 tonnes was realized in 2013 against an initial projection of 1 100 000tonnes. The figure shows a further reduction from the 968 000 tonnes recorded in 2012. According to statistics from Ministry of Agriculture, a total of 1 442

845 hectares were planted and a total of

177 605 hectares were written off due to poor rainfall patterns during the 2012/2013 season leaving a total 967 229 hectares. This was further exacerbated by the decrease in yields per hectare, which declined to

0.63tonne/hectare from 1tonne/hectare in 2012. [7]

The shortage of maize, which is the country's staple food implies high food insecurity in the country. As a result, the country will need to import more maize in order to address the food shortages

 

which might arise due to poor harvest in the country. Given the reduced output levels in maize, during the first half of the year, Government resorted to the importation of maize from the SADC region in order to augment stocks. A total of 150 000 tonnes of maize were imported from Zambia at a cost of

US$70,6 million as at 30 June 2013.

Winter wheat production continues to suffer numerous challenges thereby threatening its viability. The major challenge facing the production of winter wheat being that of low dam water levels due to poor rains, intermittent power supply and lack of access to finance among others. However, wheat projection in 2013 is pegged at 33 000tonnes, 1% lower than the 33 700 tonnes recorded last year. However, it is sad to note that winter wheat production in Zimbabwe has not been performing well, mainly due to the challenges outlined above. [8] [9]

Tobacco production increased from about 137 252 047Kgs in 2012 to 167 185 253Kgs in 2013. Of the total tobacco production, 67% was produced via contract farming. [10]

Cotton production also declined from about 350 000tonnes in 2012 to about 280 000tonnes in 2013. It is important to note that the production of cotton is also price driven, hence production reached its peak in 2012 since the selling price in 2011 was high thereby motivating production in 2012. However, prices in 2012 were low thereby affecting production of the crop in 2013. The current wrangle on the crop price has significantly affected its production in 2013.

Soya Bean production, which was projected at 114 800tonnes for the 2012/2013 season was reviewed downwards to 76 900tonnes due to lower yields resulting from poor rainfall pattern during the period under review. [11] Soya bean output has remained very low since 2010 although the price has continued to rise. In this case, the supply is failing to meet the demand, hence the high selling price of the crop.

Beef, poultry and pork production has been on the rise since 2009. Beef production is expected to marginally increase from the initial projection of 94 100 tonnes in 2012 to 94 500 tonnes in 2013. Poultry is expected to surpass the initial projection of 80 000 tonnes to 100 700 tonnes in 2013, mainly due to increased number of producers in the industry. Pork production is anticipated to grow to 25 700tonnes from the initial projection of 15 000tonnes. The increase is mainly on account of sow herd which is anticipated to grow from 67 468 to 73 335 in 2013. [12]

In short, a successful agricultural season is expected on the anticipation of normal rainfall, timely and adequate availability of inputs in the local market. Overall, the sector continues to face a number of challenges such as lack of access to long­term finance, poor irrigation infrastructure, untimely and inadequate availability of inputs in the local markets.

Another challenge that has affected the sector is the lack of an operational Agriculture Commodity Exchange to regulate and ensure competitive prices are set for certain critical agricultural produce. These challenges tend to threaten food security in the country ,hence the need for Government to take corrective measures. As a means to boost agriculture, Treasury disbursed US$500 000 towards the establishment of the Commodity Exchange.

4.2 Tourism

The tourism sector has recorded sterling performance during the past five years. During the first half of 2013, tourist arrivals increased by 17% from 767 939 in 2012 to 824 922 in 2013. The increase benefited mostly from the improved tourist arrivals from all major source markets. Overall arrivals from overseas markets stood at 14% in 2013 from 11% in 2012, while Africa had 12% increase in arrivals. South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia contributed close to 70% of tourist arrivals from the region. [13] [14]

The sector has also benefited more from the re­introduction of the 2013 Statutory Instrument suspending duty payment on capital goods and motor vehicles imported by tourist operators. The cohosting of the 20th Session of the UNWTO General assembly in August would also boost the overall performance of the sector, thereby reinforcing the growth of the sector.

However, the following challenges still persist, thereby affecting the growth of the sector;

• lack of long haul flights and a weak national airline,

• congestion at the country's major port of entries, in particular

Beitbridge Border Post,

• lack of key tourism amenities and enablers such as communication, water, electricity and the general infrastructure.

4.3 Manufacturing

According to the mid­term policy statement, the perennial constraints affecting the manufacturing sector remained unresolved during the first half of 2013. These challenges includes, among others, the following;

i. Low investor confidence arising primarily from political

uncertainty;

ii. A highly inflexible labor laws resulting in high employment costs against low productivity;

iii. Lack of access to long term affordable capital;

iv. High utility charges (electricity and water); and

v. The lack of a national focus on productivity and competitiveness. [15]

In this regard, the sector's growth is, therefore, expected to remain at 1.5% in 2013.

The huge imports have significantly affected the manufacturing sector's competitiveness. Generally, more than 65% of products in the local shops are imported. This is because the cost of production in Zimbabwe is higher than in other countries in the regions. For example, the cost of producing a 2litre bottle of cooking oil at Olivine Industries is higher than that in most companies in South Africa. The bottle is 27% more expensive than a 2litre D'lite cooking oil imported from South Africa. Hence, according to CZI [16] , industry viability is threatened by imported products due to operating environment rendering local industry uncompetitive.

On the other hand, only a few companies that are multi­national subsidiaries have remained viable in Zimbabwe basically due to the support they get from their mother bodies. Companies like Delta, Tongaat Hulette, Nestle, Dairiboard and Schweppes have remained viable reporting huge profits as compared to local struggling companies. [17]

Some companies have closed down during the first half of the year, like Cains Holdings, which closed down a canning factory shop in Mutare, while Hunyani Hills closed down a factory in Norton among others. Activity remained subdued in the textiles and ginning, clothing and footwear, paper printing and publishing, chemicals and petroleum products.

The pharmaceutical sector has been heavily affected by the lack of capital, obsolete equipment and power cuts among other challenges. As a result, the sector's capacity utilisation dropped to below 25%, with Caps Holdings struggling to make ends meet as its assets were put under auctioning during the first half of the year. However, sadly enough, Government is taking long to intervene and serve one of the critical company, Caps Holdings, in the pharmaceutical sub­sector.

The manufacturing sector's competitiveness remains critical in the country as it contributes significantly to the country's GDP. Government's intervention is therefore required as a matter of urgency in order to stimulate local production and consumption as well as exports.

4.4 Mining

The mining industry remains the major driving force behind overall economic growth in the country and it also remains the fastest growing sector in the economy. The mining industry output was expected to grow by 17.1% in 2013 before a downward revision to 5.3% [18] . The downward revisions are a result of falling international mineral prices against rising mineral production costs, lack of long­term financing, lower than expected performance in platinum, gold and diamonds among other minerals.

Gold production was lower during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. A total of 6 727.36Kg of gold were produced during the first half of the year compared to 7 171.53Kg produced in 2012, representing a 6.2% decline. The under­performance of gold during the period under review was largely attributed to the leach tank accident which affected operations at Freda Rebecca mine in February 2013, and normal operations only resumed in April 2013. The decline in the international gold prices also affected output volumes during the first half of 2013. Given the above challenges, the gold output projection for [19] was revised downwards from the initial 17

000 to 15 000Kgs. [20]

Chrome production during the first half of the year amounted to 92 073tonnes against a total target of 282 000tonnes in 2013. This output is 259 795tonnes lower than to production achieved during the same period in 2012. ZIMASCO continued to be the major chrome producer during the period under review, while the chrome smelters continue to suffer from high electricity tariffs. [21]

Diamond production also decreased by 11.4% to 2.8million carats from the 3.1 million carats during the same period in 2012. The decrease was attributed to diamond producers shifting from alluvial mining to conglomerates which are

relatively costly to produce. [22]

Platinum production increased from 5 671Kgs in 2012 to 6 599.49Kgs in 2013, representing an increase of 16.37%. Platinum output produced during the first half of the year represents a 52.8% of the 2013 annual target output of 12.5tonnes, thereby leading to the conclusion that the target will be met. However, the platinum prices declined by more than 10% between January and June 2013.  [23]

Coal production during the first half of the year remained low at 48.8% of the 2.5million tonnes projected for 2013. The increase in output is mainly benefiting from strong participation by Makomo Resources and Galpex, which are significantly complementing

Hwange Colliery output levels. [24]

Positive developments in the implementation modalities of Indigenisation and Economic

Empowerment regulations and implementation contributed to the sector's growth. Zimplats and Unki have established Community Share

Ownership Trusts. The developments are likely to provide certainty and improve the operational environment. On the other hand, international mineral prices continued to slacken during the first half of the year thereby affecting the sector's overall performance.

However, the sector remains fragile and experiencing low capacity utilization due to the following challenges among others;

• lack of capital;

• shortages and inconsistent supply of power;

• lack of exploration activities;

• policy inconsistency and unpredictability; and • volatile metal prices.

4.5 Energy

The shortage of electricity in the country continues to hamper socio­economic growth. However, in an effort to address the constraint, Government has facilitated the mobilisation of external financial resources for the sector, targeting generation and transmission infrastructure.

As at 30 June 2013, Government had concluded a financing facility for Kariba South Expansion Project with China amounting to about US$355 million to enable construction of two additional generation units of 150MW each. In addition, the Hwange Power Station Rehabilitation Programme is set to receive US$28.6 million from India, targeting upgrading of Deka Pumping Station and the river water Intake System. [25] [26]

The prepaid meter installation project by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has helped to increase revenue collection within the organisation. However, progress has been slow as only 206 570 prepaid meters have been installed to date representing about 34% of the targeted clientele of 516 188.

4.6 Transport

Transport infrastructure development such as air, rail and road remains critical in facilitating trade, people's mobility and creation of markets for communities.

4.6.1 Rail Transport

As at 30 June 2013, a total of US$2.5million was disbursed towards rehabilitation of rail infrastructure out of a target of US$6.5million. [27] The funds availed enabled NRZ to rehabilitate 18 locomotives, 76 coaches and 800 wagons, thereby increasing the movements of cargo.

4.6.2 Air

Service delivery has improved at Air Zimbabwe thereby impacting positively on the prospects of improving tourism traffic and increased business. As at 30 June 2013, a total of US$ 1million has so far been availed towards rehabilitation of 2.7Km of the Harare International Airport runway and sewer project. Currently, about 825 metres have been completed, representing a very small portion of 3% of the runway. Connection of the sewer to the municipal line is also underway.

The upgrading of the Victoria Falls airport to cater for wide bodied aircraft and increased traffic to the resort town is also underway. Government has succeeded to mobilize funds amounting to US$150 million, with a total of US$45 million having been disbursed as at the end of the first half of 2013. The contractors are already on site to do excavations work for the terminal building and runway. [28]

The Bulawayo Airport is almost complete since the last payment of US$1.3 million was made to the main contractor. The projects awaits the handover of the completed airport project to the Civil Aviation Authority, which is currently working on the information display systems.

4.6.3 Road

A total amounting to US$9 million was disbursed during the first half of the year, with the department of roads receiving US$7.3 million and DDF receiving US$1.7 million. Of the US$7.3 million, US$4.8 million was disbursed to the 18.3Km Harare­Goromonzi turn­off road dualisation project and work is at different stages of completion. The balance of US$2.5 million went towards payment of outstanding certificates carried over from 2012 for HarareMasvingo, Hwedza­Sadza, HarareGweru, Makuti­Kariba roads, among others. DDF managed to rehabilitate some of the rural roads. [29]

The 820Km Plumtree­Harare­Mutare Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project is

 

being implemented through a joint venture company by Infralink Pvt Ltd with the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and Group Five International of South Africa at a cost of US$206 million. However, notable progress has been recorded on the rehabilitation of the road, with about

493Km (60%) of the road being

complete. [30]

A total of 103Km between Plumtree and

Bulawayo has been resealed, while

98Km has been resealed between

Bulawayo and Shangani, 56Km between

Shangani and Gweru, 89Km between

Gweru and Norton and 147Km between Harare and Mutare. Furthermore, plans to dualise the Norton­Kadoma section of the road are at an advanced stage.

A total of 9 new toll plazas are to be constructed under the project. During the second half of the year, only one toll plaza, about 20Km peg into Bulawayo has been completed and commissioned. Other toll plazas are at different stages of completion, with Figtree being 99% complete, Treetop, 75%, Kadoma 30%, Norton 90%, Rusape 90% and Mutare 5% [31] [32] .

5.0 FISCAL SECTOR

DEVELOPMENTS 5.1 Revenues

Revenue collections during the first half of the year amounted to US$1.807billion against a target of US$1.761billion, resulting in a positive variance of US$46million (2.54% variance). [33] Tax revenues accounted for 91% of the total revenue, whilst non tax revenue accounted for 9%. The positive performance is attributable to significant contributions from Value Added Tax (VAT), Pay As You Earn (PAYE),

Excise Duty, Corporate Tax and

Customs Duty.

The policy adjustment with respect to excise duty on fuel has begun to yield positive results, contributing an additional US$5million per month. No dividends were remitted from diamonds as anticipated in the 2013 budget. The graph below refers.

Month  Actual  Target

Figure 1: Monthly Revenue Collections & Targets: January­June (Source: Ministry of

Finance)

5.2 Expenditures

Total expenditure for the first half of the year amounted to US$1.828 billion against planned expenditures of US$1.762, exceeding target by US$66 million (3.75%). [34] On the other hand, support to capital expenditures underperformed by about US$40 million.

Employment (71.1%) and operations (20.3%) costs remains the highest challenging factors militating against capital expenditure performance. Cumulative expenditure for operations and maintenance amounted to US$370.5 million against planned expenditures of US$290.3 million. The Constitutional Referendum and Harmonized Elections consumed about US$45.9 million and US$58.5 million respectively, thereby crowding out the implementation of the budgeted programmes and projects, such as service delivery.

The education sector's non­wage budget to support the procurement of teaching and learning materials as well as operational support and students support at tertiary institutions was heavily underfunded. As at 30 June 2013, a total of US$9.2 million was disbursed against a provision of US$53.5 million, reflecting a 17% level of budget utilization. [35]

Non­wage budgetary support to the health sector amounted to US$14.8 million (26.9%) against target of US$55.0 million. [36] The low level of budgetary support in the health sector has compromised service delivery resulting in accumulation of arrears to service providers of key services such as medical supplies, gases, bloods and food provision. Of importance to note is the lack of Government commitment towards maternal and child health, with only US$1.5 million disbursements made against US$3.5 million claims from central and provincial hospitals (including city health clinics) in

Bulawayo and Harare.

The constitutional Referendum held on the 16th of March 2013 consumed US$45.9million against a funding requirement of US$54.4million. [37]

The 2013 national budget provided about US$25.7million towards social protection programmes such as Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and cash transfers to child headed families, the disabled and the elderly. As at 30 June 2013, disbursements stood at US$7.1million against targeted support of 15.4million, thereby undermining support to the vulnerable members of our society. BEAM programme received support of US$5million against outstanding claims of US$10million in

2012 and US$10million in 2013. [38]

Capital expenditure disbursements amounted to US$143.8million or about 25.4% of the budget against a target of US$235.4million during the first half of the year.33

6.0 FINANCIAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENTS

Between January and June, the banking sector remained safe and sound although various underlying macro and microstructure induced constraints continue to militate against the sector's ability to meaningfully perform its core function of financial intermediation.

As at 30 June [39] [40] , banking sector deposits stood at US$4.84 billion, recording a 9.75% increase compared to US$4.41billion as at 31 December 2012. Commercial banks continue to dominate the sector with a combined market share of 83.23% of total deposits, followed by Building societies with 11.87%, Merchants banks with 3.43% and last last but not least Savings banks with

1.50%. [41]

In line with growth in Deposits, the banking sector loans and advances increased by 2.9%, from US$3.5billion as at 31 December 2012 to

US$3.6billion as at 31 June 2013. Thus, the deposit to loan ratio as at 31 June 2013 stood at 81.13%. [42] The sectoral distribution of loans and advances is as tabulated below;

Sector

Percentage (%)

Individuals

22

Services

19

Manufacturing

16

Agriculture

15

Communication

7

Distribution

7

Mining

5

Construction

4

Other

5

Source: RBZ (pp9) The table above shows that most banks allocated more loans and advances to individuals who require short­term loans as compared to critical sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining and construction, which require long­term financing. However, of the total loans disbursed, about 14.51% are non­performing loans as at 31 June 2013.

During the period under review, prudential liquidity ratio averaged 38.93% as at 30 June 2013, surpassing the regulatory minimum requirement of 30%. Only 8 banks were recorded as not compliant with the requirement. The sector continue to suffer from various underlying liquidity constraints that mirror the sector structure rigidities, including absence of tradable money market instruments, limited interbank lending, low transitory and volatile deposits and absence of an operational Lender of Last Resort function. [43]

However, the Reserve Bank of

Zimbabwe (RBZ) is closely monitoring the situation to ensure a sound and

health sector.

Noting other banking sector developments, the RBZ has extended the curatorship for Interfin Bank Limited which expired on 9 June 2013 to 31 December 2014, thereby giving the Curator ample time to conclude the ongoing recapitalisation deals, balance sheet restructuring and pursue loan collections. [44] Royal bank surrendered its licence following failure to raise the minimum capital requirement for banks and the bank was put under provisional liquidation on February 2013. ZB Financial Holdings is undergoing a restructuring transaction that involves consolidating ZB Building Society and ZB Bank Limited, while FBC Building Society and FBC Bank merged and now the building society now operates as a division of FBC Bank. [45]

In terms of the Reserve Bank's Troubled Bank Resolution Framework, there are seven (7) banking institutions that are currently classified as troubled banking institutions. These banks are failing to meet depositor's obligation, are undercapitalised, have non­performing loans, weak risk management and corporate governance structures. [46]

However, the sector continues to suffer from the following market conditions, namely;

• volatile and short­term deposits,

• market illiquidity,

• cash based transactions, capital erosion and associated financial sector risks following the freezing of the Zimbabwe Dollar denominated balances, limited lender of last resort for the RBZ, and

• low disposable incomes.

 

7.0 INFLATION

DEVELOPMENTS

According to the Mid­Year Fiscal Policy Statement, the waning inflation pressures which affected the second half of 2012, spilled into the first half of 2013 with annual inflation falling below 3%. The table below refers.

Month

Annual Inflation

Month­on­

Month

Inflation

January

2.5%

0.1%

February

3%

1%

March

2.8%

0.2 %

April

2.5%

0.1%

May

2.2%

0.2%

June

1.87%

0.13%

Source: MoF Generally, food and non­food inflation remained stable during the first half of the month. The low inflation was as a result of depressed aggregate demand due to liquidity challenges, decreasing international oil prices, depreciation of the South African Rand and associated inflation in the major trading partner country, South Africa. In Zimbabwe the major inflation drivers are international oil and food prices, movements in the Rand/US dollar exchange rate and the other domestic factors such as wage or salary increases and rentals among others.

8.0 DOMESTIC AND

EXTERNAL DEBT

POSITIONS

As at 30 June 2013, Government's external debt overhang stood at US$6.045 billion, representing about 62% of the country's GDP, while the stock of accumulated arrears accounted for US$4.687 billion, i.e. 77% of total debt stock.40 With the assistance of UNCTAD and MEMFI, the Ministry of

Finance undertook to validate and reconcile the external debt data base, the exercise which is almost complete.

Of the public and publicly guaranteed debt, US$2.938 billion is owed to Bilateral creditors, US2.527 billion to multilateral creditors and US$580 million to Non­Paris Club, which includes China. Distribution of

multilateral debt is as follows;

40

, pp 114

Institution

Debt Value (US$)

World Bank

1.351 billion

African Development Bank

632 million

European Investment Bank

302 million

International Monetary Fund

125 million

Other Creditors

117 million

Source: MoF

The table above reveals that world bank debt constitutes about 53% of the total multilateral debt. As at 30 June 2013, a total of US$108.1million was paid towards domestic and external loans obligations.

Implementation of Zimbabwe

Accelerated Arrears Clearance Debt and Development Strategy (ZAADDS) has been marred by lack of legal and institutional framework to strengthen the Debt Management Office. Currently the Public Finance Management Act

(PFMA) is governing the contraction of external debt. The PFMA does not provide the necessary legal and institutional framework for effective debt management in Zimbabwe as it

does not provide for issues concerning limits and coverage of borrowing as well as the role of Parliament. There is therefore need to formulate a new Public Debt Management Act to provide a conducive operating environment for the Debt Management Office.

In addition, Government has put in place a Debt Management Policy which is aimed at promoting concessional borrowing for developmental projects which have a multiplier effect on the economy, especially energy and transport sectors. Currently the estimated infrastructure financing deficit amounts to US$15 billion, which as a country is needed for infrastructural development.41

9.0 BILATERAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL

TRADE ISSUES

Exports amounted to US$1.301 billion during the first half of the year as compared to US$1.328 billion realized during the same period last year. The 2013 exports represents a 2% decline, which in turn highlight the overall

41

, pp 119

slowdown in the real economy. Minerals and tobacco dominated the bulk of the exports among other export commodities.

It is important to note that about 83% of exports are raw materials, signifying the need to promote value addition of most primary goods as means to widen the export base, thus increasing the export value of commodities.

The major export destinations for Zimbabwean products are South Africa, which dominate the market with about 73%, Mozambique (8%), United Arab Emirates (7%), while the rest of the world accounts for 1%. [47] However, factors such as liquidity constraints, high cost of borrowing, power outages, obsolete equipment and a depreciating rand have contributed significantly to reduction in the country's exports competitiveness.

The country's imports amounted to

US$3.205 billion during January to June compared to US$ 2.601 billion recorded in the previous year, representing 23% increase in imports. [48] [49] Imports have largely been composed of consumptive goods, which is unsustainable in the long term. Generally, the use of obsolete machinery, power and water shortages, lack of access to long­term financing among other factors has constrained domestic growth.

Zimbabwe's top imports are from South

Africa, which accounts for more than

60%, followed by United Kingdom (17%), China (5%), Zambia (4%) and the rest of the world 14%.

The country's trade pattern remains skewed towards imports as compared to exports giving rise to a huge trade deficit.

10.0 CONCLUSION

The Zimbabwean economy continues to strengthen on a positive growth trend although retarded by severe challenges related to financial constrains, policy

 

uncertainty, power and energy crisis, among other challenges. Measures to improve public confidence in the banking sector remains demanding whilst initiatives to promote real sector growth are prudent for economic growth and recovery.

 

REFERENCES

1. Ministry of Finance, Mid Year Fiscal Policy Statement (2013)

2. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

3. Confederations Zimbabwe Industries , Manufacturing Sector 2013 Mid Year Review.