BY REX MPHISA
Government has made sweeping changes to its warehousing and physical examinations charges at Beitbridge Border Post with all foreign-registered vehicles now being levied in hard currency.
Previously, charges were paid in local currency and the new changes, to be effected next Monday, are likely to see most imported goods being charged in foreign currency.
It will also mean that shipping agents will have to charge transporters and importers in foreign currency, effectively removing the RTGS regime on imported goods and any overhead charges.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority spokesperson Francis Chimanda yesterday asked for questions in writing to which he had not responded at the time of going to print last night.
“Please put your questions in writing. I will respond to you at the shortest possible time,” he said.
Vehicles arriving from South Africa are taken to a warehouse belonging to Sabot Hauliers for physical examination for which Customs and Excise has introduced the new charges.
The new tariffs will see trucks of up to 15 tonnes (rigid trucks) paying US$17,25 per load.
Over 15-tonne vehicles will cost US$34,50 per load for handling and trans-shipment.
“Unloading to covered storage will cost US$34,50 per freight tonne or cubic metre and unloading to open storage will be US$23 per freight tonne or cubic metre,” a notice circulated to shipping houses from cargo carriers who handle containers on behalf of the Department of Customs and Excise, read.
“Reloading from covered storage will cost US$34,50 per freight tonne or cubic metre while reloading from open storage will be US$23 per freight tonne or cubic metre,” said the notice.
“Vehicle to vehicle charge will be US$23 per freight tonne or cubic metre, which is the minimum charged on one tonne.”
Overnight storage fees for a vehicle or trailer below 15 tonnes has been pegged at US$5,75 per 24 hour period, while other trailers will pay US$11,50.
Truck horses will be levied US$11,50 per 24-hour period and a horse and trailer will attract US$17,25.
A shipping agent at Beitbridge, who asked not to be named, said the new charges mean workers will also demand salaries in foreign currency.
“We are saying we have moved from the RTGS transactions and we will expect salaries in US dollars as well. We also have to adjust our bonds with Customs and Excise to US dollars,” said the agent.
Customs is already levying most goods in forex,
Owners of the container depot rented by Customs and Excise also changed their gate pass charges to foreign currency.