Government has extended to December, free duty on all public service buses imported by licensed operators.
The move is aimed at overhauling the country’s mass transport system through replenishing the existing fleet. The free duty period had initially been set from January to December 2019.
Transporters are also now allowed to import up to five buses duty-free up from two last year.
The new regulations could also witness the number of private buses contracted to Zupco quickly rise from the current 388. According to Statutory Instrument 276, gazetted recently to amend a previous Statutory Instrument, tour operators will be allowed to import, duty-free, a maximum 56 new buses with a sitting capacity of between eight and 55 passengers during the year.
Reads the SI in part: “In Section 9HH (Suspension of duty on importation of public service buses imported by approved importers)… Section 3 (1) thereof by the deletion of the words “… with effect from 1st January, 2019…” and the substitution with the words “… for a period of twelve months with effect from 1st January, 2020…”; and
“ii) In Section 3 (3) thereof by the deletion of the words “…a maximum of two buses per annum…” and the substitution with “… a maximum of five buses per approved importer,”
“f) in section 9JJ (“Suspension of duty on specified buses imported by tour operators”) of the principal regulations by the deletion of section3(3) thereof and the substitution with the following —
“3. (1) Approved tour operators shall, for a period of twelve months beginning on 1st January, 2020, be allowed to import a maximum of fifty-six new buses of a sitting capacity of at least eight to fifty-five passengers including the driver under the suspension of duty as provided for in this section.”
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said this augurs well for the development of the public transport sector.
“Zupco as a company is obviously happy about the increase in the amount of buses that are allowed to be imported for free as it is good for business and for the country in terms of affordable transport,” said Minister Moyo.
Zupco acting chief executive officer Mr Evaristo Madangwa said the public transporter was set to take delivery of new buses soon.
“This new development will increase the capacity of buses imported into the system, which means that more people will be able to be ferried by the buses,” said Mr Madangwa.
“Basically, this is a capacity-building exercise and it is meant to help all Zimbabweans with regards to access to more affordable transport.
“So far we had roughly 338 buses that belong to private players and soon we will have new buses coming in so that we can have more of the Zupco owned buses being used to ferry people to various areas,” he said.
Presenting the 2020 National Budget last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, hinted on the suspension of customs duty on specified buses for tour operators.
“In order to assist tour operators to capitalise their fleets, I propose to extend suspension of duty on 75 new buses of a carrying capacity of eight to 55 passengers including the driver,” said Minister Ncube.