Second-hand vehicle imports through Beitbridge Border Post surged by 38 percent in the period between January and May this year.
The imports had fallen significantly in recent years, with people preferring to use less busy ports of entry like Plumtree, Chirundu and Victoria Falls. Vehicle imports through Beitbridge are processed at Manica and Malindi transit sheds.
On average, a pre-owned car costs $5 000 inclusive of duty. Sources at the border post attributed the surge in vehicle imports to price cuts and the opening up of more car dealerships on the South African side.
They said the prices were slashed by almost 30 percent after the dealers noted a decline in sales. Zimra director for Legal and Corporate Services Ms Florence Jambwa said 90 percent of the imports were from Japan, while South Africa contributed 10 percent.
She said it took an average of three hours for one to clear their vehicle at the border post depending on the submission of adequate documents. "Ninety percent of motor-vehicles imported through Beitbridge Border Post are from Japan and 10 percent of the vehicles are from South Africa. "For the period January to June 2016, the average number of motor vehicles imported into the country through Beitbridge Border Post was 63 vehicles per day and for the same period in 2017 the average number of vehicles was 100 per day," said Ms Jambwa.
She said during the period under review, 15 041 vehicle imports were processed at Beitbridge, while 9 341 were handled last year. The highest number of vehicles was recorded in May this year with a combined 3 484 being processed at both Malindi and Manica transit sheds.
She urged people to make proper and complete declarations and to submit all required documents when importing goods. "The following documents are required on the clearance of imported motor vehicles: commercial invoice, export bill of entry, proof that the car was de-registered in South Africa (in the case of second-hand cars from South Africa), and a South African registration book and South African Police Clearance certificate.
"The Value for Duty Purposes (VDP) placed on a motor vehicle on importation should represent the bona fide market value from the country of export, when sold for export to Zimbabwe, as is required by Section 112 of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23:02).
"Where the declared Value for Duty Purposes is not representative of the bona fide market value, the VDP can be reviewed in terms of the same section mentioned above to reflect bona fide market values. "Therefore, ZIMRA has not unilaterally increased the VDP for motor vehicles as alluded to in your question".
She said they were using the basic valuation method when calculating import duty on any goods (Transaction Value Primary Method of Valuation). Ms Jambwa said the VDP of any imported goods shall be the transaction value of the goods, which is the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to Zimbabwe.
Any other dutiable charges are added to this price and these charges include freight and insurance, handling costs and documentation costs. "However, for private importations if the transaction value as declared by the importer does not reflect the bona fide open market value, we (Zimra) can assess the value in terms of Section 112 of the Customs and Excise Act (Chapter 23:02), utilising the various valuation methods as provided in the Customs and Excise Act," said Ms Jambwa.