The Zimbabwean government, under ZIMRA has cruelly sprung up the recent import ban on vehicles that are more than 10 years old under the guise of protecting the local vehicle assembling and manufacturing industry. There is just one problem with that, that industry barely exists and the prices it charges are well beyond what Zimbabweans, including the government’s own employees can afford.

Just like with such heartless moves in the past, the government moved swiftly to implement this ban without full public consultation. The ban came in the form of a hastily crafted Statutory Instrument which again was never discussed in parliament. Statutory Instruments have become the government’s favoured weapon to shove its decrees on the hapless public.

In this instance, the ban was not announced by the Ministry of Commerce before it came into effect. An individual is said to have bought their vehicle only to be informed that they had violated the ban which was until then not yet public knowledge. Their vehicle was impounded and there were ordered to pay a fine of $80 000 ZWL for violating a law they knew nothing about due to the government having not yet announced the law. They would also be charged $800 ZWL per day for storage. Failure to do so will see ZIMRA auctioning the vehicle locally, in violation of the government’s own law. But the government has become quite adept at creating loopholes to dodge the ponderous laws it imposes on its masses. Remember when they introduced duty on vehicles in foreign currency but yet allowed themselves to continue to pay their civil servants in local currency?

The latest of many poorly thought out anti-poor laws

The law is meant to ostensibly protect the local car industry but that car industry barely exist and it’s prices are well beyond at least 90% of the population. It seems the government is hellbent on making sure it’s citizens do not drive. That would be great if there was a well established public transport system but that’s not the case. The government has also banned kombis and every morning and evening commuters pile up in lorries and container trucks risking their lives in this pandemic era. Banning was supposedly done in order to protect the public even though ZUPCO simply doesn’t have the capacity to cater to the commuting needs of public.

There have been many such rash bans before including the banning of USD which was done in one afternoon and served literally no purpose except make our lives miserable. Then ban second-hand clothes bales to protect the local industry is also still in effect although it has failed miserably. The ban on kaylites (styro-foam) and airtime cards. The list is endless, whenever a minister wants their presence known they just come up with a ban the public’s interest be damned.

The text of the ban

1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 

In line with the Control of Goods (Import and Export) (Commerce) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (No.9). and following the 2021 National Budget Statement, the Government gazetted Statutory Instrument 89 of 2021 on the 2nd of April 2021. The Statutory Instrument has removed Second-Hand Motor Vehicles aged 10 years and above from the date of manufacture at the time of importation, from the Open General Import License. It also removes Sugar and Cement from the Open General Import License.

2.0 ADMINISTRATION OF SI 89 OF 2021 2.1 

Importation of Second-Hand Motor Vehicles which are 10 years and above from the date of manufacture will now require consideration for import licences. This measure is in line with the NDS1, which underscores value addition and encourages effective standards, regulations and use of road-worthy vehicles that meet environmental and safety standards. 2.2 Commercial vehicles (tractors, haulage trucks. earth moving equipment) and other specialised vehicles used in mining and construction sectors shall be exempted. 2.3 Importation of Sugar and Cement will also require consideration for import licences. Sweets are exempted from import licence requirement.

3.0 WAY FORWARD 

The Ministry is therefore advising that:

3.1 Clients whose motor vehicles were bought on or before 02 April 2021 will be required to apply for import licences at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, attaching proof of payment:

3.2 Clients whose consignments on sugar and cement were bought on or before 02 April 2021 will be considered for import licences.

3.3 In line with decentralisation, clients who meet requirements in 3.1 and 3.2 above will have to make their applications at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce offices at Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

3.4 Please be advised that there is an e-licensing platform (hups://zimeservices.pfms.gov.zw) that can be used by importers and exporters.

3.5 For inquiries. you can contact the following: Harare Ms Sandauke – 0772 874 213 Mr Gowora – 0774 099 514 Mr Mukanjari – 0773 029 506 Bulawayo Mr Gopoza – 0783 871 460 Mr Dingiswayo – 0774 493 194 Gweru Mr Mtisi – 0775 856 903

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