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ZIMBABWE’S local textile industry is on the brink of collapse amid the proliferation of cheap and second clothing in the market.

Industry officials said as much as 80 percent of local textile companies had ceased operations or scaled won operations as a result of such goods flooding the market from some neighbouring countries.

Managing Director of Bulawayo-based Femina Garments, who referred herself as Mrs Bonett, complained that the proliferation of second hand clothes had led to the loss of 2 000 jobs.

ldquoThose bales have killed the textile industry,rdquo she said.

Bales commonly refer to huge sacks full of second hand clothes mainly smuggled from Mozambique.

Most of these clothes are selling at less than $5 while new products cost more than quadruple the price.

Bonett complained that Government was not doing much to curb the smuggling of these clothes into the country.

ldquoThe clothes are coming in duty free. That is why they are so cheap,rdquo he said.

Corrupt officials from the Zimbabwe revenue Authority have been accused of conniving with smugglers to facilitate the entry of these products.

Apart from the second hand clothes, big retail companies are now also ordering merchandise from as far as China arguing that locally produced clothes were expensive.

Most companies have fared worse than Femina Garments and have either closed down, scaled back operations or are under judicial management.

The once prominent David Whitehead Textiles, Merspin, National Blankets and Modzone and Karina Textiles are among the formerly-big companies that have stopped production and are now under judicial management.

In Bulawayo, once the heart of the country’s textile industry, Cotton Printers, Coats Zimbabwe, Silkwood Prints, Dreyton Textiles, Andys Suppliers and Trifil have all closed down.

Source : CAJ News Agency