GOVERNMENT has granted a one-year rebate to the clothing and textile industry which will allow 52 manufacturers to import textile materials duty-free.

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The development comes at a time the clothing sector is facing stiff competition from cheap imports that have flooded the market, making locally manufactured clothing uncompetitive.

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A rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed.

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According to statutory Instrument 32 of 2015 cited as Customs and Excise (Clothing manufacturer) rebate Regulations gazetted on March 6, the Ministry of Finance granted a one-year reprieve ending December 2015 as part of efforts to boost the operations of local producers.

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“These regulations may be cited as the Customs and Excise Clothing Manufacturer Rebate Regulations 2015. These regulations shall be deemed to have come into effect on January 1 2015 and shall be valid for a period of twelve months to December 31 2015.”

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Treasury said the rebate duty shall be granted on material referred to in the second schedule imported or taken out of bond by a manufacturer for use in the manufacture of clothing.

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Materials eligible for the rebate include cotton sewing thread containing 85% or more by weight of cotton, cotton sewing thread, denim, plain weave weighing more than 100g per square metre, sewing thread of man-made staple fibres, not put up for retail sale, woven fabrics of polyester staple fibres, chenille fabrics, tulles and other net fabrics.

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The textile and clothing industry at its peak used to employ at least 35 000, but the figure has since plunged to about 8 000 due to a number of problems bedevilling the industry.

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Last year, government in partnership with the private sector launched the cotton-to-clothing strategy as part of efforts to revive the sector.

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Companies that will qualify to import raw materials under the rebate include Archer Clothing, James North Zimbabwe, Enbee Stores and Carousel (Private) Limited among others. – NewsDay