Used car import ban looms

via Used car import ban looms – NewsDay Zimbabwe 3 September 2014 by Nqobani Ndlovu

THE government is working on regulations that would halt the importation of cheap ex-Japanese second-hand vehicles to promote the local automotive industry.

Industry and Commerce deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa said Zimbabwe was losing much-needed foreign currency in importing second-hand vehicles.

Local vehicle assembling company Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry (WMMI) has also blamed its troubles on the continued importation of used cars.

Many Zimbabweans have resorted to importing second-hand vehicles, mainly from Japan, as they are cheaper than those assembled locally.

“We have a document that we have since furnished to the Cabinet which is going to be debated on,” Mabuwa said in the Senate last week in response to a question by Zanu PF Senator Shuvai Mahofa on what the government was doing to stop foreign currency outflows on importation of used cars.

“In that document, there is an issue on the manufacturing of vehicles and the issue of the money that is going out of the country to buy vehicles that come here and then they break down.

“What we are doing right now is that there is a motor industry policy which we are using. It will be out very soon. It would encourage that we have four companies in Zimbabwe that are able to manufacture vehicles and to see whether they can make vehicles that can be accessible so that we cannot continue to lose foreign currency,” Mabuwa said.

Previous attempts by the government to raise import duty on second-hand vehicles to deter the buying of affordable cars outside the country have been met with resistance.

The government blames the second-hand ex-Japanese vehicles for the high number of accidents while former Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema once proposed their ban saying they are a threat to the environment.

However, the government continues to gross hundreds of millions of dollars in duty charged on the importation of affordable second-hand vehicles, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.

The government in 2010 tried to ban the importation of used cars, but abandoned the move following public pressure.


  • comment-avatar
    Godwin Sagotora 8 years ago

    We all need new cars.opting for a Japanese car is because we can not afford. Put measures which are conducive at willowvale then we will buy. Every one wants a new car

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    KIBBS 8 years ago

    Willowvale is not viable. Realize it and move on.
    Who in Zim. can afford new vehicles??
    Technical courses on second hand imports – repairs, servicing and safety compliance – now there is a useful thought and would create employment. Willowvale could become a compliance Centre?

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    mutakura 8 years ago

    Willowvale is a non-starter. How many people can afford new vehicles? Its not true to say that japanese second-hand cars are the cause for accidents. Accidents are caused because of driver licences that are corruptly issued to people who dont qualify. Secondly, the police are also responsible for these accidents. Defective vehicles are allowed to pass through police roadblocks on payment of bribes. Unlicenced drivers are let loose by the police- after payment of bribes, of course. So people should not talk about these cars causing accidents or protecting a car industry that is almost dead. The people are suffering and please let us not compound their problems. With the little money that they are getting, civil servants are able to save and fulfill their dream of owning a car. Dont rob them of that dream

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    There are a number of issues to consider here before the ban. Does Willovale Madza have the capacity to produce vehicles at affordable prices? Are there other vehicle producers who can bring different models of vehicles on the market? I guess Willovale Mazda will only specialise in producing Mazda. The Japanese Second hand vehicles are widely accepted in many countries across the globe not only in Africa. They are affordable, realiable as long as you get a good buy and not just buy a car for the sack of just owning a car. I personally have imported four cars directly from Japan, as good as new over a period of five years and never had any problems with those cars because I went for the “best” second hand cars.
    The carnage problems we have on the roads can not be attributed to second hand cars and this is no justification to ban importation of these cars. The problem is the cars are not serviced and have no warrant of fitness. They are let on the roads and because of numerous defects, they are also involved in accidents. Apart from that driver behaviour can not be overlooked. There is generally reckless driving on the roads. The roads themselves are in a poor state and speeding only compounds the carnage problem.

    There is really need to get to the root cause of the issues than just bringing a blanket ban on these cars. Not all cars are coming from Japan. Some are imported from UK, second hand but Japanese made. There are better strategies that can be explored to ensure we earn foreign currency than banning the importation of Japanese vehicles.This has created employment where most people are formally engaging in economic activities helping a lot of households to survive and has improved the lives of many people unless those in Gvt and those who have want to continue making life difficult for the already struggling people of Zimbabwe. We are not a car manufacturing country but rather an assembling entity. There is need to explore other collaboration avenues with the Japanese Gvt so that the country can benefit than pouncing on individuals who have struggled over years to keep.

    The long and short of it all is those in Gvt should think through this as an impulsive decisions may impact negatively on the lives of many yet the economy is struggling to keep these people to survive. Look at this issue not in isolation but over a whole lot of other issues.

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      Gomba remarara 8 years ago

      Well said , its only fools who cant realise that the world over cars are made in Japan . Even the willowvale gets their parts from Japan in kit form so who is who in this situation

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    Tjingababili 8 years ago


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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    This is the ZANU elite getting tired of all this traffic. Instead of improving the road network they figure to make sure on they few will be able to afford vehicles.

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    obert 8 years ago

    Zanupf enjoys the suffering and poverty of the majority. Which foreign currency are they taking abt, Zim doesn’t have its own currency. The poor citizens and their relatives in the diaspora work hard to better themselves. Zanupf destroyed public transport and now waants to destroy the people’s only alternative.Stop selling drivers licences and fix the roads.

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    Mseyamwa 8 years ago

    Even Willowvale imports the car kits and then assembles them. There is still an outflow of forex there. It is safe to assume these kits cost more than a second hand car from the same country Willowvale imports its kits. The fate of Willowvale is largely due to the depressed economy with low incomes and stopping these imports will not translate to higher sales for Willowvale. There will just be a shortage of transportation and increased poverty. The economy must be addressed holistically not in piecemeal starts and jolts.

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    The elite are irritated by the presence of ordinary people on the roads. We must fix the roads and the economy and not point fingers at this and that. The simple truth is that the assembly plants (if we still have them) can not compete with the imports both on volumes and prices. For many years Willowvale Mazda has been delivering standard vehicles and selling them at the price of full-house vehicles. The full-house vehicles were then sold as executive class putting them beyond the reach of ordinary people. A vehicle in this day and age is not a luxury, it is a necessity for ordinary people to have. If this proposal is adopted it would be rather like banning Islam because some terrorist organisations are Islamic. I believe we still have some rational thinking Zimbabweans.

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    Government doesn’t care ,they posses free vehicles and probably import duty free.

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    90% of the time it’s not the car or the road that causes an accident, it’s the person behind the wheel.

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    How can you ban car importation when you are importing toothpicks? These are the very same people who have presided over the collapse of the economy.

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      akaxaxa 8 years ago

      Lol…well said Mahlaba. Little brains of those in govt doesn’t stop to amaze me.

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    Will this foolish policy making idiots, be allowed to import their over the top Mercs?

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    Mscynic 8 years ago

    Zimbabwe does not own the money earned by people working here, or elsewhere, regardless of currency. When we get our wages for goods and services supplied by us that money is constitutionally ours to do with as we please. This idea that money belongs to govt and we are privileged to use it
    is archaic. The alternative is barter trade which will collapse the already ailing economy. Govt must now earn its own forex and manage its budget properly. Most capital flight is incurred through Govts purchase of Benzes, junkets and other trinkets. DO NOT TELL US ON WHAT OR HOW TO SPEND OUR MONEY. Earn your own and manage it properly. You are part the public sector which is accountable to the public. Do not make rules for us without first having moral authority. We have lost all respect for the financial sector of the world.

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    Tongoona 8 years ago

    May be just control the influx of these unroadworthy Jap cars. How about one family one jap car.

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      The one who brought this issue on the table is mad u dont want 2 buy cars made localy then u want us 2 buy kkk u are fun u old men. U no we are sufering bcoz of u isnt u are geting duty? We are hapy with jap cars leave us alone .mbavha dzevanhu taurai zvimwe zvine musoro mupary .imomo

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    There’s an almost Olympian strength to the four interlocking rings on the Audi badge, and it’s in no way misleading.