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Zimbabwe govt suspends duty on bus imports

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2022 at 06:36hrs | Views
IN a move set to ease transport challenges and reduce fares, Government has, with immediate effect, suspended customs duty on the importation of up to 20 public service buses by authorised dealers.

This comes as the Second Republic is making endless efforts to address transport challenges nationwide through the provision of an efficient transport system.

On its own, Government has brought in hundreds of buses that have been distributed around the country to ensure that the public is not ripped off by uncouth and often rowdy unregistered transporters.

Apart from that, Government has also improved public transport efficiency through liberalising the sector that is also vital for the realisation of the country's Vision 2030 to become an upper middle class economy through the provision of modern buses in sync with national aspirations.

Yesterday, Government gazetted regulations allowing for the duty-free importation of up to 20 public service buses by private players with effect from July 1, 2022.

This is contained in Statutory Instrument (SI) 138 of 2022, titled "Customs and Excise (Suspension) (Amendment) Regulation, 2022".

The SI was issued by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, in terms of Section 235 as read with Section 120 of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23: 02).

"Customs duty shall be suspended on the importation of public service buses imported by approved importers in terms of this section at a customs duty rate of zero percent," reads SI.

"An approved importer shall be allowed to import not more than 20 public service buses in any 12-month period beginning July 1, 2022. The secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development shall on a case-by-case basis recommend to the Commissioner General (Zimra) qualifying public service bus operators duly registered in terms of the Road Motor Transportation Act."

Prof Ncube said a public service bus shall be admitted under suspension of duty only if the approved importer has satisfied the Zimra Commissioner General.

The latest developments were warmly welcomed by bus operators who said the measures will improve the transport system as well as ensure the levying of affordable fares.

Zimbabwe Passenger Transporters' Organisation (ZPTO) chairman, Dr Sam Nanhanga, said as private bus operators, they welcome the decision by Government as it will improve efficiencies.

"We welcome the suspension of duty on the importation of buses because it will alleviate transport shortages nationwide," Dr Nanhanga said.

"It is also a plus in the bus industry as it will help in ensuring efficiency in the transport sector. People will no longer be boarding illegal transport and mushika shikas (pirate taxis) as buses will be readily available to carry them to their various destinations.

"If we import more buses, this will also improve mobility and reduce breakdowns because some of our buses are old and are prone to break downs whilst on the road. So this will ensure that those with old buses purchase new ones which are efficient."

Prominent Mutare businessman and founder of Gold Class buses Dr Esau Mupfumi said the scrapping of duty on buses is a demonstration of the Second Republic's commitment to work with the private sector.

"It shows that the Government has its businesspeople and ordinary people at heart in line with His Excellency's thrust of having an upper middle income economy by 2030," he said.

"This is also an opportunity for operators with old buses to buy new modern buses. As private bus operators we are going to plough back to the community through charging lower fares for both rural and urban routes. The suspension of duty will also allow us to import world class buses which will aid in creating a modern country."

Source - The Herald
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