The Shipping and Freight Forwarders agents association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) has urged the Government to temporarily suspend customs duty on all imports of sanitizers, masks and synthetic gloves which are critical tools to manage and contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The organisations says the suspension of duty on these items will help boost local stocks through import from various countries in the region.
Of late there has been a frenzied buying of food items and the preventions tool kits by Zimbabweans.
SFAAZ chief executive officer, Mr Joseph Musariri said it was very critical for the Government to make sure that every necessary items is available to prevent the rapid spread of the condition.
“In times like these, it might be prudent for the Government to scrap import related duties and levies on face masks, soaps and sanitizers, etc. these tools are very critical in the fight against the pandemic,” he said.
According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (Zimra) tariff handbook; import duty on synthetic fibers (common gloves used in the country) are charged a 40 percent duty and an additional USD3 per kg plus 15 percent value added tax.
In case of sanitizers they are levied a 40 percent duty and 15 percent value added tax, while face masks of do not attract import duty.
However, the value and quantities of these items which come through Beitbridge could not be readily established yesterday.
Mr Musariri said SFAAZ, was also standing with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and its National Association Members who have since pledge to continue to support initiatives to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The organisation is one of the major players who are at the centre of the international trade logistic and supply chain management process.
In a statement at the weekend, FIATA said; “The disruption to the aviation sector is now one of the greatest threats to the timely delivery of life saving medical supplies and key componentry to sectors identified as vital to economic security.
“On this matter FIATA noted and supports the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Media release where governments do not appear to clearly understand that short term decisions will exacerbate the immediate and short-term ability of economies to meet the challenge of Covid-19 containment and then the economic rebuild.
“FIATA now urges all governments, through a common need, to fully implement the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade Facilitation. FIATA and its National Association Members and their members are the key to meeting community and economy expectations in these challenging times and the rebuild for the future”.