Vehicle imports increase 9% in 2020, trucks in transit decrease to 59%

HARARE – Annual vehicle imports marginally increased 9.29% in 2020 despite restrictions of goods and services due to the COVID-19 induced lockdowns seen in the greater part of last year.

Zimbabwe is one of the biggest export markets in Africa for secondhand vehicles mainly from Japan and United Kingdom.

However, while it was anticipated that Zimbabwe will record a slump in vehicle imports due to a slowdown in economic activity particularly in the SME sector, statistics gathered from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) show that the country imported 55 500 vehicles from 50 781 in 2019 as pockets of growth were seen in mining and infrastructure sectors.

ZIMRA further indicated that the total CIF value (customs value – Cost, Insurance and Freight) of the imported vehicles stood at ZWL$16.75 billion in 2020 up from ZWL$2,4 billion in 2019. ZIMRA did not avail to FinX, the type of vehicles that were imported.

In terms of revenue, the country’s tax collector managed to generate ZWL$4,2 billion up from ZWL$789,819 million during the same comparative period.

Period                                                                2020                                                                 2019

Number of vehicles                                        55 500                                                               50 781

CIF Value                                                         $16,756,523,467.37                                          $ 2,451,460,939.90

Total Collected                                                $4,268,153,930.45                                             $789,819,074.30

Zimra attributed the vehicle imports variations between the two years to “exchange rate varia

tions, shortage of foreign currency, inflation, currency devaluation, limitations by the emergency of Covid -19 and the lockdown measures put in place and overall effects of Covid-19.”

Meanwhile, the tax collector also revealed that the movement of incoming cargo trucks increased to 318,235 in 2020 from 215,657 recorded during the previous year.

The increase is attributed to the uninterrupted movements of cargo within the region in the wake of the COVID-19 induced tight border restrictions where individuals, cross borders traders and buses were restricted.

However, commercial cargo trucks in transit decreased to 59% from 64% during the two comparative years as some sought alternative routes while there was general slowdown of activity in the region.

Statistics further indicate that the average commercial truck movement for 2020 stood at 26 520 trucks per month.

Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) attributed this to delays and congestion at borders owing to the rigorous COVID-19 guidelines truck drivers must adhere to and the bureaucracy and red tape at the country’s border posts.

“Truck drivers need to produce negative test results (this process can cause delays as some of the negative test certificates are not acceptable to the authorities). Some truck drivers are quarantined (as a result),” said SFAAZ chief executive officer Joseph Musariri.-Financial Express.