ZNCC calls for review of Customs and Excise Act

ZNCC chief executive officer Chris Mugaga

THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has called on government to review the Customs and Excise Act, saying the law is now outdated and no longer addressing critical issues.

“For the Customs and Excise Act, I think you understand in Zimbabwe it is the Commissioner of Taxes who has the right to talk about relief into the industry,” ZNCC chief executive officer Chris Mugaga told NewsDay Business on the sidelines of the organisation’s annual congress being held in Victoria Falls

“The Customs and Excise Act in Zimbabwe right now is outdated and no longer addressing issues to do with dumping or issues to do with uncompetitive practices. All those things need attention,” he added.

Mugaga also expressed concern over government’s promulgation of various statutory instruments (SIs) to address economic challenges, saying the pieces of legislation were toxic and confusing the market.

Statistics show that more than 250 SIs have been promulgated from last year to date.

“If you look closely, I think the issue we have as businesses is that of delegated pieces of legislation,” he said.

“For years, we have relied on regulations especially statutory instruments for economic policy making of which to a certain extent, is even confusing to the market because an average businessperson in Zimbabwe right now certainly don’t understand which statutory instrument is working for what because they are so conflated and they will be coming fast and even in the process we have lost direction and its quite very unfortunate.

“But going forward, our hope and belief is that we are going to see a change of direction where the regulations will remain subsequent to the Act itself which means overreliance on statutory instruments is toxic or it shows our inability to come up with policies with a long-term vision.”

Mugaga said by relying on SIs, government was preventing Parliament from meaningfully contributing to the legislative framework.

Government critics have been vociferous in their condemnation of authorities’ reliance of subsidiary legislation, arguing that this is a deliberate attempt to short-circuit Parliament in making laws.

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