Mabvuku-Tafara legislator James Maridadi says there is no way Zimbabwe can curb corruption and revamp the economy as long as some businesses are being protected by senior people in government.
He cited the example of a Chinese company, Yufan Import and Export Trade Company, which he said was importing dishes into the country and paying duty of only two cents or four cents but was selling the dishes for $6 and $13, respectively.
“It does not have a bank account. I wonder how they are then able to pay for these things in China if they do not go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe because they must essentially go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“They must submit an application to the RBZ and say we need so much to be able to import these items into the country but I do not know how they do it because they do not go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”
Maridadi who displayed the dishes in Parliament said: “When I went to buy these items, they have three different sets of tariffs.
“They do not allow to swipe.
“If you are buying using bond notes, this dish here costs $16.
“If you are using US dollars you pay about $12.
“They will tell you that if you are buying more than one, they do not want bond notes, they want US dollars and I have documentary evidence to that.
“Madam Speaker, if you look at the extent of prejudice – I was calculating here – a 40 foot container paid ZIMRA $4 000 when in actual fact it should have paid $49 970.
“I am talking of one container.
“This item that I have here which is called a Bill of Entry talks about twenty 40 foot containers that have come into Zimbabwe and they have only paid about $80 (000) when in actual fact if you calculate $49 000 by 20, it is about a million.
“With this kind of attitude, we are not able to go anywhere……..”
“This Chinese company would not able to do this if they are not protected by senior people in government,” he said.
HON. MARIDADI: I would like to ask the secretariat of Parliament to bring me some exhibits that I have. Can you kindly bring the exhibits that I want to show to the House – the dishes and all the other things so that when I debate, I put my debate in context.
One small dish, one large dish, transistor radio, a thread, binder and outer blanket were laid on the table.
The President spoke about two issues. He spoke about the economic downturn and he said Government was working hard to ensure that the economy can start working again and for very obvious reasons. The President then spoke about the need for Zimbabweans to shun corruption. Madam Speaker, I want to talk about those two issues, the need for Zimbabweans to shun corruption and the need for the economy to grow. There are issues that I want to highlight here which militate against the growth of this economy. The last time I spoke about this, I brought exhibits of blankets and I spoke to that. Today I have some exhibits and some documentary evidence here that I have which are militating against the growth of this economy.
There are people that are operating in this economy that are not following regulations that are stipulated by Government. What I have before this House are two dishes. These two dishes are imported into this country by a company that I have put tabs on. When this dish (small) comes through the border, it is cleared at $0.02. This one here (big) clears at the border at $0.04. That is the duty that they pay. I went to buy this one here (small dish) for $6 and I bought this one here (big dish) for $13. They are imported from China. In China Madam Speaker, they pay the correct amount but when they come to Zimbabwe, they do not pay the correct amount. I am talking about $0.02 and $0.04 and I have the evidence here.
I have another item. This is a transistor radio. This radio declares at the border $1.20 and it is sold in Zimbabwe for $14. Let me go on to the next thing. I have here what is called a quilting kit. A quilting kit consists of a liner, binder and the outer blanket. When these things are imported into Zimbabwe, there is the binder, liner, the outer blanket and the thread. It is called a quilting kit. When you put these together, you then come up with a blanket. This blanket here in Zimbabwe sells for about $20. A blanket which is manufactured in Zimbabwe is sold for $30 for a double. Companies in Zimbabwe like Waverly do all the manufacturing from lint to a complete blanket. The lint will lead to this outer material, it will also lead to this inside material and it will lead to this binding cloth and to a complete blanket, a double of which will sell for $30.
When these quilting kits come into Zimbabwe, what they declare at the border is $0.40. A local company which is manufacturing blankets cannot compete with a company that is importing a quilting kit for $0.40 and sell a blanket because they can even sell it for $3 and still make a profit. Actually, this material here, when it is being imported into Zimbabwe must declare $2.93 per metre at the border but this whole set is declaring $0.40 at the border. That is the level of prejudice to this Government.
This Chinese Company would not able to do this if they are not protected by senior people in Government. The document that I have here Madam Speaker will tell you what has been imported into this country. The Chinese Company I am talking about here is called Yufan Import and Export Trade Company. It does not have a bank account. I wonder how they are then able to pay for these things in China if they do not go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe because they must essentially go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. They must submit an application to the RBZ and say we need so much to be able to import these items into the country but I do not know how they do it because they do not go through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Holder. Can we have order in the House? – [AN HON. MEMBER: Akadhakwa.] –
HON. HOLDER: I am sorry, I was speaking a little bit louder but I was just trying to highlight that what Hon. Maridadi is saying has something to do with the Bill which is on Order Number 1 which they shot down. The Hon. Member who said I am drunk, did he buy me beer?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! It is only that I heard your voice and you are not supposed to speak when another Hon. Member is debating.
HON. MARIDADI: They do not have a bank account and what it means is that they do not pay corporate tax. When I went to buy these items, they have three different sets of tariffs. They do not allow to swipe. If you are buying using bond notes, this dish here costs $16. If you are using US dollars you pay about $12. They will tell you that if you are buying more than one, they do not want bond notes, they want US dollars and I have documentary evidence to that.
Madam Speaker, if you look at the extent of prejudice – I was calculating here – a 40 foot container paid ZIMRA $4 000 when in actual fact it should have paid $49 970. I am talking of one container. This item that I have here which is called a Bill of Entry talks about twenty 40 foot containers that have come into Zimbabwe and they have only paid about $80 when in actual fact if you calculate $49 000 by 20, it is about a million. With this kind of attitude, we are not able to go anywhere. But let me bring it home.
ZANU PF owned two companies, one called National Blankets and another one called Kango. National Blankets had machinery and employed people to produce blankets. But because National Blankets can no longer compete with people that are protected who import these quilting kits. National Blankets; to all intents and purposes has closed shop; it is no longer there. All of us in this House, when we grew up, we remember the kind of plates and pots which were called Kango. Kango is a company that was owned by ZANU PF. Kango has closed shop because of imports of plates like this for two cents and sell it for whatever price, Kango cannot compete because they must buy material and come up with a plate like this via a manufacturing process.
I will bring it closer to home even further. Cone Textiles is the company that used to do most of these materials. It is now done by a company called Waverly Blankets. Waverly employed 1800 people but when these imports started coming into Zimbabwe, they have retrenched and now employ about 400 people. What it means is that 1400 jobs have been exported to China who do not pay corporate tax, Pay As You Earn, et cetera.
Madam Speaker, what we want to do is, we need now to say, the Chinese companies that are operating in Zimbabwe, how are they registered? Who are they doing their banking with? Does the Reserve Bank and ZIMRA know that they are importing and exporting? When they get bond notes, they simply go on the streets of Harare and harden the money into US dollars and the money is spirited out of the country. It is very easy to take money out of Zimbabwe. If you have $200 000, you simply go to Charles Prince Airport, you charter a plane and you fly into South Africa. It is that simple. You do not use Air Zimbabwe and South African Airways because Harare International Airport security limits the amount of money that you must take out. That is how money is leaving this country. It does not really matter how much policy and regulations the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is going to put into place, money will still leave the country.
The fact of the matter is that, we must start now to investigate all companies. I am talking across sectors. If you go into the brick molding sector, Chinese companies that are molding bricks are selling those bricks at a price such that Willdale Limited, a Zimbabwean company cannot survive. A Chinese company that is selling fast foods does it in such a way that a Zimbabwean company that is in that industry is not able to survive.
Madam Speaker, the textile industry in Zimbabwe to all intents and purposes is dead. Hon. Nduna from Chegutu can vouch for me. There is no way that David Whitehead can come back if we have this kind of thing. These are cheap imports but what I want to reiterate today is that these people who are doing these things are protected by senior Government officials.
Today I hear that one of the Chinese people and a Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe are trying to borrow money from CBZ so that they resuscitate National Blankets. You will not be able to resuscitate National Blankets as long as there are cheap imports that you are going to compete with. You are not going to revive the textile industry for as long as there are cheap imports that you are going to compete with. You are not going to revive Kango for as long as there are these imports coming into Zimbabwe that are equally good but are selling at a quarter of your input into production.
Madam Speaker, there is Capri Corporation, a wholly owned Zimbabwean company. In the past two years, Capri Corporation has invested $15 million into the manufacture of refrigerators and stoves. They made a profit of $200 000 in 2015. If you are in business and you invest $15 million and make a profit of $200 000, get out of that business. You would rather put that money in a bank. Where you have an interest rate of 5%, you are able to make more money than you are making in manufacturing.
The reason why Capri is making that meager profit is because there is Samsung. Samsung is a South Korean company that has been given a licence to manufacture in Zimbabwe. If you go to Samsung in Harare today, all you see is an office the size of this desk. That is all they have. They bring complete refrigerators to sell in this country competing with refrigerators from Capri and the other company which does industrial refrigerators.
Madam Speaker, if you go to Capri, which I visited about three weeks ago, it is a hive of activity but they are operating at 40% of capacity because of Samsung. Why are we bringing Samsung into Zimbabwe when we have our own company that is manufacturing in Zimbabwe? Samsung could not go into Zambia. In South Africa, their products have knocked down the prices of refrigerators but they now have a ready market in Zimbabwe. They have been given a ready market in Zimbabwe, they are militating against our own companies and we are exporting jobs to South Korea.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for your time but I want to say the attitude of senior Government officials who protect corrupt people, especially Chinese must stop. In my next installment which is coming very soon, I am going to name and shame you. What I am urging Hon. Ministers and Hon. Members of Parliament who are protecting these people is to please stop forthwith so that you avoid the embarrassment of me standing up here because I will name you. I will say your first name, second name, surname and the constituency that you represent. Thank you Madam Speaker.