THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has now started levying duty on a wide list of imported grocery goods such as laundry soap and sugar in line with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2015 mid-term fiscal policy review statement and subsequent changes to the rebate on duty as covered under Section 114 of the Customs and Excise (General) Regulations.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
In a statement posted on its website on Friday, Zimra said goods that previously qualified for the $300 duty-free allowance now attracted duty at the country’s ports of entry.
The list of goods that are excluded is now as follows: goods which are imported for commercial purposes, alcoholic beverages in excess of five litres per traveller of which two litres may be spirits, goods which are imported by any member of the crew of an aircraft, ship or vehicle arriving from outside Zimbabwe, stoves and refrigerators, blankets, cooking oil and laundry bar soap, Zimra said.
“This implies that the importation of such goods will attract duty despite the fact that the value might be under the duty free allowance of $300. Please take note of this latest development in order to avoid any inconveniences at ports of entry,” the authority said.
In his 2015 mid-term statement, Chinamasa argued that the levy was meant to safeguard locally-manufactured goods.
The development is, however, likely to hurt families that depended on food supplies from relatives in the Diaspora, mostly South Africa and Botswana.
The new charges might also affect cross-border transporters, popularly known as “omalayitsha”, who are normally hired to transport monthly groceries from South Africa.