Shipping to Zimbabwe
GOVERNMENT is considering relaxing the age limit of vehicles to be imported into the country from five years to another limit to be advised next week as the June 30 deadline approaches.
Secretary for Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Mr Partson Mbiriri yesterday said Government was in the process of reviewing the number of years for second-hand vehicles to be allowed into the country.
He said his Minister, Nicholas Goche, would issue a comprehensive statement next week de-tailing all the changes to be implemented.
Mr Mbiriri, however, insisted that the June 30 deadline banning the importation of the old vehicles from Asian countries, mainly Japan, still stands.
If no changes are effected, it means Zimba-bweans will be allowed to import vehicles that are five-years-old and below after June 30.
"We are considering reviewing the age limit of imported second-hand vehicles, which would be imported into Zimbabwe from five years but we are yet to finalise the specific age limit. However, the June 30 deadline set by Government still stands," said Mr Mbiriri.
He, however, assured the nation that by next week Minister Goche would have clarified the matter.
"The minister (Cde Goche) will be in the office next week on Monday and he is expected to issue a statement clarifying the new developments," he said.
The decision to ban vehicles that are over five-years-old had sparked outrage from many Zimbabweans who feel the regulations would make vehicles expensive and beyond the reach of most people.
Left-hand drive vehicles are also facing a ban.
Last week, there was congestion at Beitbridge Border Post following a sudden influx of used vehicle imports, mainly from Japan, as car dealers and individuals rushed to beat the June 30 deadline.
According to reports, the border post used to handle 15 car carriers per day, which is 101 cars, but the number had since risen to between 30 and 40 car carriers per day translating to about 250 cars per day.
But, the congestion eased over the weekend after the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority deployed more officers to clear the backlog of cars being imported into the country.
Few Zimra officers on the vehicle clearance section were failing to cope with the backlog in terms of duty calculations for second hand vehicles imported from Asian countries.
In September last year, Government gazetted Statutory Instrument 154 banning the use of left hand driven vehicles and those older than five years old.
Government took the step to ban second-hand vehicles to prevent the country from becoming a dumping ground for unroadworthy vehicles that posed danger to people.
It also seeks to ensure that vehicles that are imported have residual value that will benefit the importer, users and the economy of Zimbabwe, given that the best practice of international accounting is that light vehicles (for example) are amortised at five years.
A vehicle that is more than five-years-old - in terms of the international accounting practice - would have reached its peak and the residual value would, therefore, be less and thus compromising benefit to the receiving country.
Most Zimbabweans, particularly low-income earners, rely on second-hand car imports which are affordable, as they are cheaper than vehicles less than five-years-old.
Government, however, insists that the move is aimed at road safety as well as provision standards as regards to value addition of the imports to the economy.