By Kenneth Matimaire
Nyanga, August 23, 2016 – INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha has castigated the local media for allegedly manufacturing the current confusion which has followed the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64/2016 in a bid to boost their newspaper sales.
Minister Bimha made the remarks during his official address of a Business Leaders Conference organised by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ).
Bimha said government only removed certain goods and products from the Open General Import License but newspapers went on to misinform the public that they had banned imports.
He said that when government moved to clarify the correct position on the policy, the media again gave it another spin by saying the government was backtracking.
“During my stay in government, I’ve now learnt that newspapers make money by writing what will make the people want to buy those papers,” Bimha told business delegates at the conference.
“When you buy textbooks you are really concerned about the factual content within it but with papers its different, it’s probably the headline. And the headline says ‘Government going backwards on SI 64’ and surely people will be eager to know what is happening,” he added.
Bimha accused the media of rushing to publish without a full understanding of the statutory instrument.
“The media has a duty to publish at an informed point of view but what we saw was the opposite. They rushed to publish without a clear understanding of how the SI 64 operates.
“I have said this time and time again, SI 64 is not a ban, it is only a way of regulating those goods that we are producing adequately. If tomorrow a supplier fails to meet the demand, we will allow importation, and vice versa, so it is merely regulating,” he said.
Bimha further said the media should also understand that similar successful legal instruments had been implemented before.
He said the cooking oil sector is one of the several beneficiaries of statutory instruments that removed imports from the Open General Import License, which has forced South African manufacturer D’ Lite to open base in Zimbabwe.