HARARE – Zimbabwe has moved to restrict the importation of second-hand vehicles older than 10 years, finance minister Mthuli Ncube said in a bid to control the high import bill and promote the local motor industry.
Announcing the 2021 national budget on Thursday, Ncube said commercial vehicles such as tractors, haulage trucks, earth-moving equipment and other specialised vehicles used in mining and construction will be exempt from the requirement.
“About US$1.3 billion was spent on imported buses, light commercial and passenger motor vehicles from 2015 to September 2020. This is despite the existence of capacity by the local motor industry to assemble the above-mentioned range of motor vehicles,” Ncube said.
“In line with the National Development Strategy 1, which underscores value addition, I propose to remove second hand motor vehicles aged 10 years and above, from the date of manufacture at the time of importation, from the Open General Import Licence.”
Individuals and companies intending to import second hand vehicles older than 10 years will now require a special permit from the ministry of trade – but the process can be long and frustrating.
Zimbabweans import thousands of second-hand vehicles every year, mainly shipped from Japan and the United Kingdom.
Zimbabwe does not have a motor industry to talk about, although Quest Motors has been assembling Chery, Foton, Foton Daimler JMC and Zhongtong Bus at its plant in Mutare. Ironically, Ncube has not authorised local purchases of vehicles for ministers and Members of Parliament.
“The government will prioritise procurement of locally manufactured buses, hence I propose to terminate the Suspension of Duty on Public Service Buses with effect from December 31, 2021,” Ncube said.