Government has scrapped duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on all goods imported for onward distribution to survivors of Cyclone Idai in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. In a statement on Monday, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) said qualifying goods should be for free distribution to people in need in the identified areas.
“Zimbabwe is amongst the African countries that were affected by Cyclone Idai, which caused a trail of destruction that affected humans, animals and infrastructure. The President of Zimbabwe made an appeal to individual corporates, civic society and international community to provide assistance to the affected communities, mainly in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Bikita.
“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority administers regulations, which give relief on duties on imported goods donated by international organisations and to associations and organisations in Zimbabwe involved in charitable or welfare, in terms of Section 103 and 124 of the customs excise (General) regulations published in Statutory Instrument 154 of 2001, respectively.
“Qualifying goods should be free for distribution to people in need. Interested organisations are encouraged to take advantage of these rebates provided for in the cited sections of regulation in order to reduce any burden of duty payments at this time of need,” said ZIMRA.
The authority said goods that qualify for exemption include passenger-carrying vehicles and goods-carrying vehicles, while second-hand or used motor vehicles are not covered by the waiver.
“Goods that qualify, all goods provided are fully donated, vehicles such as passenger type, commonly known as sedans and stations wagons, passenger-carrying vehicles such as buses, minibuses and other goods carrying vehicles.
“The rebate does not apply in the following circumstances — second hand or used motor vehicles, road tractors, new clothing, new shoes and new bed linen, all foodstuffs except where the Minister has directed the Commissioner-General to grant a rebate,” said the tax authority.
Meanwhile, the Government says there is no politicisation of food aid in the affected areas.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and her Local Government counterpart, July Moyo, confirmed this.
Minister Mutsvangwa, who is also Senator for Mutare-Chimanimani Constituency, said there was no need to segregate because the targeted beneficiaries faced similar problems.
“The cyclone affected everyone and so no one is being left behind in relief aid distribution. Everything is being coordinated in a transparent manner and accountability is our hallmark.
“I am a member of the inter-ministerial committee overseeing the Cyclone Idai relief programme and so far we have met ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe, the donor community as well as the civic organisations to thank them for the overwhelming response we got in mitigating the effects of the cyclone.
“In all the meetings we are calling on anyone who wants to witness the distribution of all the donated goods to come forward.”
She added: “It seems some individuals want to sow seeds of divisions among Zimbabweans after realising that everyone from individuals, corporates and the international community had come together in our hour of need.
“They want to score cheap political mileage by claiming that relief aid is being politicised. All donations go through the Provincial Administrator’s office in Mutare where they are registered before being taken to World Vision warehouse. The Department of Social Welfare is involved in the process.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said since most of the areas were still inaccessible by road, they had set up distribution command centres near villages in dire need of assistance.
“Our roads are still in a poor state and we have distribution centres at Wengezi, Skyline and Silverstream. From these centres, the food is being airlifted to most critical areas.” – Herald