Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
THE Government has slashed duty on the importation of luxury buses used mainly by cross border transport operators in a move set to promote investment in the transport and logistics sector.
The reversal comes under Statutory Instrument 16 of 2017, which is effective from the 1st of January this year, as a response to a two-year lobby by the Cross-border and Transporters’ Association (CBTA).
Under the new order, only importers registered through the CBTA and approved by the Ministries of Transport and Infrastructural Development and Finance and Economic Development, stand to benefit. Duty for such luxury buses is now pegged at five percent down from 40 percent.
A new luxury bus costs between R600 000 and R1 million in South Africa. This means that approved importers would part with around R30 000 (US$2 300) and R50 000 (US$3 800) in import duty rather than R400 000 (US$30 000).
Reads part of the Statutory Instrument: “It is hereby notified that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Patrick Chinamasa) has, in terms of Section 235 as read with Section 120 of the Customs and Excise Act (chapter 23:02), made the following regulations.
“1. These regulations may be cited as the Customs and Excise (suspension) (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (no 16).
“2. The regulations shall be effective from the 1st of January, 2017 to 31st December 2017 and the Customs and Excise regulations of 2003 published in S.I 257 of 2003 are amended by the insertion after the section 9 (x) of the following — Suspension of duty on luxury buses imported by approved importers”.
Section 9 (Y) of the S.I describes approved luxury bus importer as one who is registered with the CBTA and approved under Section 2 of the new regulations.
The buses will be cleared under the tariff codes 8702.101 and 8702.901.
“The Commissioner may not grant a suspension of duty to an approved luxury bus importer on the basis of noncompliance with Section 34c of the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11),” read part of the S.I.
It is also understood that a maximum of 30 luxury buses in total shall be eligible for importation or removal from bond by the importers in terms of the new regulations.
However, the SI does not specify the carrying capacity of the said buses.
The following requirements should be submitted to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for eligibility to suspension of duty; a written authority from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development indicating the make, model, engine number and chassis number of the luxury bus being imported.
Further, the approved luxury bus importer’s name as authorised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and a valid tax clearance certificate and proof of registration in terms of the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11).
The chief executive officer of the CBTA, Mr Alex Kautsiro, had not responded to questions e-mailed to him on Monday though he had promised to do so by yesterday afternoon.