Zimbabwe is drafting policies aimed to curb the influx of cheap imports as the country's trade deficit continues to grow, state media reported Sunday.
The Sunday Mail quoted Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying that policymakers were looking at ways to regulate imports to both curb the influx of cheap imports and help local industries operate viably.
Though details of the policies are not yet disclosed, observers say a hike of duties might be in the pipeline.
The report said the slash of duties on various products in 2009, directed to solve the shortages caused by hyper-inflation, triggered the influx of imported clothing, textiles, shoes, and electronic gadgets, depressing local industries' productivity.
Zimbabwe used to boast of a strong manufacturing sector, but after a decade of economic meltdown capped by the collapse of the local currency in early 2009, the country's industries are struggling to survive.
About 60 percent of the goods in Zimbabwean shops now are imported from South Africa, China and Nigeria. Figures from the Zimbabwean government showed that trade deficit in the first four months of the year grew to 1.6 billion U.S. dollars.
"We have seen a situation whereby we have turned into a warehouse of imports," Chinamasa said. "Next month we will introduce policies meant to address the issue of cheap imports."