The textile industry of Zimbabwe urged the government to extend the clothing manufacturers rebate by another 12 months.
Industry officials have also warned that if the government delays this extension, then the textile industry will soon shut down.
During 2015 budget statement, Patrick Chinamasa, Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, extended clothing manufacturersâ€™ rebate facility by 12 months in order to help capacitate the sector.
Industry officials say that the sector needs the facility to be extended again by a similar period.
The clothing manufacturing sector presently operates at below 30% capacity since the sector now only employs about 8,000 workers compared to more than 40,000 workers during its peak period.
Companies in the clothing sector will also soon send home more workers as the industry struggles with various challenges, said Joseph Tanyanyiwa, general secretary of the National Union of the Clothing Industry.
He further said that there are unscrupulous companies and individuals who escape duty after they smuggle clothes into the country and label them as if they have been locally seamed. Our borders are very porous and aided by corrupt customs and immigration officials, he added.
He said that the government should also speed up introduction of an import policy that would allow the sector to import textile materials duty free.
â€œAs the National Union of Clothing Industry, we want the window for clothing and textile employers to continue to import duty free or else we risk the danger of the industry shutting down again,â€ he said.
He stated that more than 200 clothing manufacturing companies have since stopped operations.
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