Zimbabwe introduces 25% customs duty on mobile phones

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

mbudzi-featurish-phonePatrick Chinamasa, the minister of Finance, announced today that the government will now start levying 25% customs duty on mobile phone handset imports with effect from October 2014.

Since August 2009, duty on mobile handsets and computers (essentially ICT gadgets) had been waived in a move to increase access to information technology.

In the announcement Chinamasa explained the move: “Handset purchases have increased significantly and mobile telephone penetration rates have also increased substantially to over 100%. Customs duty reduction has, thus, achieved its intended purpose. I, therefore, propose to levy customs duty on mobile handsets at a rate of 25%, with effect from 1 October 2014.”

With the line between the traditional computer and the modern cellphone very much blurred now – both are computing devices – this essentially means the government has made access to computing more difficult.

Being cheaper than regular computers meant mobile phones were providing a low cost entry into “using a computer”. Not the case anymore. Which is just wrong.

It’s not mentioned in the minister’s speech if regular computers will also now attract customs duty.

What do you think? What impact on tech adoption and the development and reach of technology tools will this have?

Source: Finx


  1. @vandlovu

    What about tablets with out a GSM receiver, do they count as mobile phones?

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      You’d have to explain that to the tax official at the border. Good luck explaining that if the tablet is small enough it looks like a phablet

      1. M3YA

        Your luck is as trying to explain to that woman at that ZBC roadblock that your “Radio” is not actually an FM receiver!

  2. Reader

    Very retrogressive step indeed. Actually primitive .

  3. Fait Cydem

    This is unbelievable.. kuda kutodhurisa iphone 6 ndisati ndatomboibata..

  4. Charles Chindove

    I sympathise with that poor student who needs a laptop for his studies at Colleges and Universities.
    Another Question, what about refurbished second hand Computers, What about donated Computers to schools and NGO’s respectively?
    Pleas anyone with the full statement (Amendmens) from the Minister??

  5. Stan

    Hash, I am trying to think of something positive about this seemingly crazy move!

  6. collen

    pakaipa pakaipa mheni
    gore rino, airtime 5% increase tax
    ini whatsapp yacho ndakuita pa pc ne viber skype calls

  7. Edwin

    paipa apa paongorore

    1. Charles Chindove

      Irikutsvagwa nedhemo!
      Next Time we will be taxed the Air we breathe (lol)

  8. Anonymous

    We are being led into a dark pit by blind retrogressive impositions.

  9. tinm@n

    He “proposed”.

    Such decisions are not made unilaterally. In his mind mobile penetration is the real reason why customs was struck off for mobile phones.

    That one decision will be costly. Its a desperate pursuit for revenue and it will affect livelihoods and in the long run rollback the speeds with which people have gotten connected.

  10. Farai

    “It’s not mentioned in the minister’s speech if regular computers will also now attract customs duty” – Are you giving Chinamasa more tax ideas?

    And I agree 100% that the increases will reduce communication among people or it is a ploy to reduce it?

  11. Juju Man

    One step forward two steps back. Where are we headed as a country? Backwards!!!

  12. FrustratedTechie

    This is the dumbest move, the government has made since the USD was introduced in Zimbabwe. They have failed to produce more jobs and companies are closing down by the day. Instead of introducing measures to promote job creation they are just killing off all the remaining viable sectors of the economy. Mr Chinamasa this is the wrong move.

  13. Shepy Tarzy

    I don’t see any reasonable sense behind castigating Chinamasa and Zanu pf as if we were forced to vote for them. These are fruits of your choices made by the electorate so please don’t cry foul it’s what you wished for.

    1. Charles Chindove

      we are not crying foul over the voting, we are crying foul for the to steps backwards when we living in Technological changing world. In the first world, every household has Internet connection, every 3-4 year olds can use a computer. Then our (computer savvy people) efforts are thwarted.Aluta Continua!

      1. Boy

        Surely your ignorance has led you to believe in fairy tales when we are actually living life now-this is as real as life gets! You voted for them, they are now doing what you put them in that position for. Aluta Continua? I couldn’t agree more with you! But this move is irrelavant. Penetration is over 100 pc but only 18 pc use smartphones, when are the 82 pc gonna be connected?

  14. victory

    Its an anti progress move, at a time where they should be lobbying for people to catch up with technology trends, phones should be more accessible.

  15. huniland

    ndochibhuru shiti manje ichi. kana musisina mari endai munorima. kwete kubira vanhu pachena.

  16. Anonymous

    That your government is full of baboons. Instead of devising ways to resurrect the economy and be innovative and globally competitive all those baboons baboons can think of is squeezing the little from an already impoverished nation. Tax on those cheap chinese and second hand phones? Like seriously? Handidzokiko

  17. inini

    and to watch the paliamentary sessions and listen to what our “cdes” will be saying is so pathetic and some point unotonyara to be called a zimbabwe, they are so backward minded.

  18. masungura

    Chinamasa tell us when you will start tax on sex coz wamwe tiri wemaraunds akawanda tigare ta chengeta mari yacho or just tax ma condoms its good idea kkkkkk

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