Vehicle importers on the ropes as storage fees go up

Row of new cars on lot

OWNERS of imported vehicles will now have to pay more in storage fees following sweeping increments made by Government last week.

On arrival at Beitbridge Border Post, imported vehicles are taken to the local bonded warehouses where the importer goes through rigorous customs clearance formalities.

According to a new fees schedule seen by Zim Morning Post, storage fees at bonded warehouses have gone up from US$60 a day to US$80 and from US$70 to US$90 for commercial vehicles.

This amount is paid for the first two days a vehicle is inside a bonded warehouse. From the third day it accumulates an extra daily charge of US$25 and US$30 respectively.

This comes as Government has banned the importation of all vehicles older than 10 years unless one has an import licences from the Industry and Commerce ministry.

Those changes were given effect through Statutory Instrument (SI) 89 of 2021, Control of Goods (Import and Export) (Commerce) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (No. 9).

“Second-hand motor vehicles aged ten (10) years and above, from the date of manufacture at the time of importation shall require an import licence from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,” reads part of the Statutory Instrument published in the latest Government Gazette.

Commercial vehicles and other specialised vehicles used in agriculture and mining would not be affected by the new requirements, the notice further reads.

Government had in November 2020 warned that imports of second-hand vehicles more than 10 years old will be banned to contain the import bill and promote the domestic motor industry.

A radiation clearance was Gazetted requiring all vehicles imported from Japan to be checked for radioactivity.

The proposal for the ban on older second-hand cars was part of a raft of measures to rebuild Zimbabwe’s assembly industry presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube when he unveiled the 2021 National Budget.

Zimbabweans spent about US$1,3 billion on the imports of 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.

“Furthermore, due to lack of effective standards and regulation, unroadworthy vehicles, which, in some instances fail to meet environmental and safety standards, find their way onto the market. 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.”