By Leonard Ncube
Beitbridge — Government is working on a policy to screen all second-hand vehicles to make sure they meet minimum standards before they can be imported into the country, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
Officially opening the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe (MIAZ) annual congress here on Wednesday Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the motor industry was key to the country’s economic turnaround hence the need to create an export oriented sector.
He said the proposed policy will be in place early next year as part of efforts to revive industry.
“In terms of standards we need pre-inspection of pre-owned vehicles. We’re seriously considering introduction of inspection in the first quarter of 2019 to see if they meet minimum local standards,” said Minister Ndlovu.
He said Government will also scale up efforts to resuscitate critical industries such as Ziscosteel, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Hwange Colliery Company, Zesa and Dunlop in the first quarter of 2019 as these are key to the nation.
“Government also targets to help revive distressed industries including the private sector. Revival of Ziscosteel is central to industry and if we don’t get it right we can’t take industry especially in Bulawayo back on its feet,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“Government is on the right course to reviving critical industry. The motor industry and Government, working together, can turnaround the economy of this country hence we hope to create an export oriented industry as we move away from being a land locked to a land linked country,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu called for linkages with other countries like South Africa in the motor industry to capacitate local industry. He, however, warned industry players against increasing prices saying Government will not just watch while consumers are being exploited.
The minister said that foreign currency customs duty imposed by Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, on importation of motor vehicles was meant to control importation on non-productive goods particularly cars and saving the scarce foreign currency.
He implored the motor industry to come up with a working technical committee that will work with Government to come up with an action plan for the industry.
MIAZ president Mr Simplisio Shamba bemoaned the state of the industry, which he said was operating in silos.
“We agree with the minister about the need for a technical committee, which will articulate issues of the industry. At the moment the motor industry is more of each man for himself-as there is no proper regulation, which is why we developed the motor industry development policy to govern operators and guard against briefcase business and smugglers who distort prices,” said Mr Shamba.
He urged players in the industry to be dynamic adding that introduction of payment of duty in foreign currency will help screen second hand vehicles and promote local assemblers.
“The onus is now on local manufacturers to be able to choose models that are needed by ministries.
“We don’t want to waste foreign currency by bringing in models that will come and work for a few months and be parked. We need this foreign currency to revive critical industry,” said Mr Shamba.
The Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs, Richard Moyo, challenged the motor industry to explore other avenues for survival.
“As organisations in the motor industry I urge you to be dynamic to react to market conditions.
“The industry has to take advantage of available exports and champion our national interests hence I also invite you to explore business opportunities in my province,” he said.