Used car imports increase by 40%

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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has recorded a 40,9 percent increase in pre-owned vehicle imports at Beitbridge Border Post in the last eight months.

Official statistics indicate that the tax watchdog is collecting $8,5 million from vehicle imports at the country’s busiest inland port of entry monthly.

Zimra’s acting head of communications Mr Taungana Ndoro said yesterday that they were processing an average of 205 imports of second hand vehicles at Beitbridge alone daily.

These, he said, included those cleared under the returning residents’ rebate facility (Immigrant Rebate). Second hand vehicle imports mainly from Japan, UK, Singapore and South Africa are handled at Malindi and Manica Transit shades respectively, while new and those, which fall under the immigrant rebate are done at the border post.

“We have recorded an increase in vehicle imports at Beitbridge between January and August this year in comparison to the same period in 2017. This year we processed 45 368 import documents for vehicles coming in through South Africa against a total of 26 781 handled last year during the period.

“In addition, in 2017 we were processing an average of 2 000 cars per month and the number has increased to around 5 000 in 2018,” he said.

According to Statutory Instrument 154 of 2001 — Customs and Excise (General) Regulations, 2001, an Immigrant Rebate is granted to any person who enters the country to take permanent residence, or a visitor but remains to take up employment or permanent residence or a diplomat but remains to take up employment or permanent residence or to attend any educational institution or for the purpose of attending any educational institution.

These are allowed to import household property and vehicles duty free on condition that they satisfy the Zimra commissioner general that they owned the goods and the same (goods) were fully paid for before or on the first occasion of entry into the country and declaration as an immigrant.

Mr Ndoro said under normal circumstances one motor vehicle should be cleared within five and six hours from the time of submission of the requisite and correct documents.

“This includes three hours for physical examinations and duty calculations and payments and another two hours for the necessary verification and processing of the Certificate of Customs Clearance (CCC),” he said.

Our Beitbridge Bureau is reliably informed that Government is losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue to syndicates who are abusing the immigrants’ rebate facility (Returning Resident) to clandestinely import vehicles duty free across most ports of entries.

It is understood that the racket is well pronounced at Beitbridge Border Post where most vehicle imports from South Africa are processed. Statistics from Zimra show that 17 immigrant abuse cases were intercepted between December 2017 and April this year.

Further, a total of 3 256 cars were imported under the Immigrant Rebate facility via Beitbridge Border Post in 2017. On average a modest vehicle attracts import duty of between $2 500 and $5 000.