Government has designated Masvingo, Bulawayo, Makuti and Mutare as the country’s customs dry ports, according to a Statutory Instrument 55 of 2020 gazetted by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube.
The customs dry ports are appointed inland facilities whereby commercial cargo may be consigned to pending final clearance.
Minister Ncube is of the opinion that setting up dry ports in Zimbabwe would spur economic activity through connecting the landlocked southern African country with the rest of the world.
“We want to make sure that our brothers and sisters in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Katanga province don’t go all the way to Johannesburg to import their goods. They must come to Makuti,” Minister Ncube reportedly said in August last year.
According to Customs and Excise (Ports of Entry and Routes) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 20) new section 9A, customs dry ports are appointed for the collection of revenue, the report and clearance of goods imported or exported and matters incidental thereto and the general administration of the provisions of the Act.
The customs dry ports set up in terms of subsection (1) are also appointed as places where the commissioner may establish bonded warehouses for the housing of uncleared goods.
The bonded warehouses may be operated by persons authorised by the commissioner in terms of the Act, and may store and also sell the bonded goods to the general public subject to the purchasers of the said goods paying the duty due and payable on the goods.
Statutory Instrument 55 of 2020 also amended truck routes as well as designated truck stops.
From across the world, there is clear evidence that exports can drive economic growth and development of communities and a country in general.
The African continent, however, faces significant challenges of growth and development, while its countries have not been able to connect successfully to the world economy.
Exporters from African countries face adverse geography and poor institutions.
In a 2001 study Elbadawi et al. (2001) found that domestic transport costs act as a strong constraint to exports from Africa – a constraint that is even stronger than that of international transport costs.
Lowering domestic transport costs in African countries can therefore contribute to exports and, more generally, to economic growth and development.
In the case of Zimbabwe, having the dry port in designated areas will help save road infrastructure that has been deteriorating at a fast rate. — ebusinessweekly.co.zw.