By Thupeyo Muleya
The Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) has started offering free services to those importing equipment for use in the fight against Covid-19.
SFAAZ board member Ms Catherine Hlanguyo said last week that they will offer the facility until end of this week.
She made the remarks during the donations of 850 reusable masks to the Beitbridge Covid-19 Task Force and journalists.
Ms Hlanguyo said the donations and the free services complemented Government efforts to combat the pandemic. Some of the common goods being imported are sanitisers, masks and synthetic gloves. Government has since scrapped import duty on the products.
Prior to the duty waiver, import duty on synthetic fibres (common gloves used in the country) was charged 40 percent duty and an additional US$3 per kg, plus 15 percent value added tax. Sanitisers were levied 40 percent duty and 15 percent value added tax, while face masks did not attract import duty.
The value and quantities of the items that have come through Beitbridge could not be immediately established.
Ms Hlanguyo said some of their members had offered assistance in various capacities as their contribution to the national response.
“This waiver of agency fees should reduce the landed cost of products,” she said. “For importers to enjoy this facility, they must liaise with their customs clearing and forwarding agent or with the association’s secretariat who will refer them to the appropriate agent.
“Besides offering free services, we are donating 850 face masks to the civil protection unity for use by front-line workers on offering essential services during the fight to contain the coronavirus.”