Cross-border traders strike deal with govt over import permits

ZIMBABWE Cross-Border Traders’ Association (ZCBTA) says it has struck an agreement with government to facilitate bulk permit licences on behalf of its members.

Source: Cross-border traders strike deal with govt over import permits – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 31, 2016


The agreement between ZCBTA and the Industry and Commerce ministry came as traders have been affected the most by Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 introduced in June, which restricts the importation of certain products without a licence.

Speaking to NewsDay in an interview yesterday, ZCBTA secretary-general Augustine Tawanda said the agreement had been made in principle though they were still finalising the process.

“Right now, we are working on a scheme with the ministry to get permits, but it is yet to be operationalised. There is now an alternative plan which traders can use. Traders can now get bulk permits,” he said.

“As an association, we can assist traders to acquire permits in their own right, which is the window we have been given by the ministry in principle.”

SI64 of 2016 restricts the importation of 43 items, a move which has affected cross border traders, as most of these goods were daily consumables, which they were importing for resell.

According to sources in the cross-border industry, an average of 85 buses head to South Africa daily from areas such as Harare, Bulawayo, Gokwe, Gweru and Kwekwe.

These buses can carry an average of 60 people each bus making a daily total of 4 800 passengers, of which an estimated 80% were heading to South Africa for the purposes of trade.

Tawanda said cross border traders spend an average of $300 on a trip to South Africa.

In monetary terms, this has meant government has managed to save an estimated daily total of $1,15 million cash, which they were importing, from leaving the economy.

“The number of people travelling to South Africa since SI64 of 2016 came into a play have significantly declined. As for Musina, for example, the number of people heading there has dwindled,” a source at Roadport long distance bus terminus in Harare said.

Analysts say the informal sector contributed between 70% and 80% of gross domestic product.

Economists say since business transactions from the informal sector occur on a daily basis, the effect was they were unable meet demand, which, in turn, affects another subset of the economy.

Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha was unavailable for comment yesterday.