Vehicle importation ban suspended for shipping to Zimbabwe
Government has suspended implementing a ban on second hand cars more than five years old by six months, an official said yesterday.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Mr Partson Mbiriri said implementation of the ban would no longer be effected on 1 March as previously gazetted but in September 2011.
Government gazetted its intention to ban imports of cars more than five years old citing the need to protect the environment. The government felt that older cars were responsible for emitting high amounts of noxious carbons. The ban, spearheaded by the Environmental Management Authority, was met with an outcry in a country where the price of new cars is beyond the reach of the majority and the only way many people could drive was through buying second hand cars from mostly Japan and Singapore.
Close to 400 second hand cars come into the country everyday mostly through the Beitbridge border post.
Mr Mbiriri said the Road Traffic, Construction and Equipment Regulations would be amended.
“In the transport industry there are a few operators who import new vehicles and government has taken that into account. Government has gazetted road traffic, construction and equipment regulation to pave way for this extension which will give many motorists and those who want to import second hand vehicles a life line,” he said.
However, Mr Mbiriri said the extension was not applicable to vehicles in transit.
“The same policy does not apply to those vehicles on transit as this is a revenue issue that has been enshrined in the mid-term monetary policy by the minister of finance,” he said.
In the mid-term monetary policy announced by Mr Tendai Biti the government said imported vehicles on transit were not supposed to be driven but to be transported on carriers to their destination.
Meanwhile, the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe has welcomed the extension of the deadline to ban imports of used vehicles.
The association’s regional chairman, Mr Reggies Sibanda, said the move would go a long way in supporting local industry.
Mr Sibanda said it was important to note that there was enough expertise in the country to inspect and monitor that imported vehicles were in good condition.
“MIAZ welcomes the Government move to extend the importation of used vehicles. Whilst we appreciate the importation of second hand cars, we have realised that some of the vehicles don’t have back up spares. It would be beneficial to the country if some experts in the motor industry can be put at the ports of entry to monitor that imported cars are in a good condition,” said Mr Sibanda.
He expressed concern over the overpricing of some of the imported vehicles.
Mr Sibanda said the association was fully behind recently gazetted regulations which require motorists to have tyres of a certain tread depth as well as carry fire extinguishers and red reflector triangles.
“The regulations are not for the Government but are there to benefit the motorist and will reduce road accidents. As we are now in the rainy season and approaching the festive season, we encourage all motorists to have tyres with good grip and ensure that wipers are working properly,”