THE government’s decision on whether to increase surtax for imported second-hand vehicles will only be made after consultations with motor industry stakeholders, an official has said.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Speaking at the official launch of the Zimbabwe Motor Industry Development Policy (ZMIDP) yesterday in Harare, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development acting permanent secretary Angelica
Katuruza said the decision will not be done in isolation as there are certain obligations that should be taken into consideration since Zimbabwe is a member of Sadc and the World Trade Organisation.
“I cannot say offhand what level we may reduce surtax by or increase by, but as part of the implementation matrix we intend to look at the market, issues at hand and look at them holistically. And, together with concerned stakeholders, we will come up with a level of surtax but I cannot say offhand by how much will the surtax be,” she said.
Local motor vehicle dealerships have over the years blamed the decline in sales of their brand new vehicles on imported second-hand cars.
Imported second-hand vehicles are chewing an average of $454,77 million in foreign currency annually, while Zimstat reported that from 2006 to 2016 those vehicles cost
$5 002 471 434 in forex.
“You cannot import a second-hand vehicle into Kenya, which is over eight years and that is the direction we should be looking at to say we need to set a cap not to allow old vehicles into the country,” Standards Association of Zimbabwe director-general Eve Gadzikwa said.
There were concerns by the officials that they were little or inspections of second-hand vehicles prompting the ZMIDP set to December 2019 to begin inspections on these vehicles. However, local motor industry players want them brought forward to the end of this year.
Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister, Mike Bimha, who officiated at the event said the inspections needed laboratories and testing equipment and this is why they were using Bureau Veritas.
He said a number of African countries have banned the use of second-hand vehicles for a number of reasons such as health hazards.
“Poor countries were just receiving them without any assessment but you then have this problem of saying if you ban second hand vehicles what do you have to offer as an alternative?” Bimha said.
“Because, at the end of the day, you also have consumers who are saying a car is no longer a luxury, ‘I need to have a car now if you cannot produce a car let me import one’. And what we are saying is that we would want to make cars for our people, these small cars that would meet international quality standards and that will also be affordable. If we today can make quality and affordable cars no one would really want to try and put together the much needed foreign currency to be able to get a car.”