Our esteemed government has unleashed so many harsh Statutory Instruments on us sometimes it’s hard to remember the cheerful ones. For example, we can all recall the pain of SI 127 of 2021 and the chaos it brought. If you mention ex-Japs or secondhand vehicles everyone groans because they are very much aware of the de facto ban that was Statutory Instrument 89 of 2021.
Importation of Second-Hand Motor Vehicles which are 10 years and above from the date of manufacture will now require consideration for import licences. This measure is in line with the NDS1, which underscores value addition and encourages effective standards, regulations and use of road-worthy vehicles that meet environmental and safety standards. 2.2 Commercial vehicles (tractors, haulage trucks. earth moving equipment) and other specialised vehicles used in mining and construction sectors shall be exempted. 2.3 Importation of Sugar and Cement will also require consideration for import licences. Sweets are exempted from import licence requirement.The gutpunch provision in S89 of 2021
Statutory Instrument 89 of 2021 was quite a gut punch. It effectively banned the importation of cheap ex-Jap cars that were more than 10 years old. The effect on the second-hand car market was instant. Prices doubled overnight and even ZIMRA noticed the shift as revenue dropped.
Civil servants can still import second hand vehicles without paying duty
We have been whirled so many times on the Statutory Instrument rollercoaster we have been turned into amnesiacs. While everyone remembers the senseless ban on second-hand vehicles not many people remember Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019. As a result, not many people are taking advantage of it.
Thankfully we recently got confirmation from the government that the law is still very much valid. Under SI 52 of 2019 civil servants who have been in the employ of the government for 10+ years are entitled to import a vehicle duty-free. They are just two restrictions that are the vehicle has to be worth US$10 000 or less and each civil servant is only allowed to import one vehicle every five years. That sounds reasonable to me as the life or an ex-Jap that is serviced and maintained well is about five years.
The existence and validity of the law was recently confirmed by the government’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public service, Labour and Social Welfare Simon Masanga in state media. I mean nothing says official like state media right?
It’s very true that the Government has continued the rebate on motor vehicle scheme for civil servants. That is one of the non-monetary benefits for civil servants.
Civil servants requested that it be continued. The Public Service Commission and the Treasury agreed to continue with the programme until further notice.Permanent Secretary Masanga
Now here is the problem with patchwork provisions that come in the form of Statutory Instruments instead of comprehensive acts. It’s not clear whether civil servants are allowed to import cars that are more than 10 years old. I would venture out to say they are probably not but one never knows with these things.
In any case, if you are a civil servant who qualifies for this rebate you can actually save a bit of money when importing a vehicle. Generally, ZIMRA charges as much as 100% on top of the assumed value of each vehicle. It means you will end up importing the car for roughly half the usual cost!