By Tinomuda Chakanyuka
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has approached the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to negotiate waiver of import duty on cars and goods bought outside the country by teachers living with disabilities.
According to Zimra regulations, disabled people import goods duty-free on humanitarian grounds. In an interview last week, PTUZ president Dr Takavafira Zhou said his organisation was seeking to assist disabled teachers to benefit from the facility. The organisation recently met Zimra officials.
“We want to ensure that disabled teachers are able to import cars duty free. This will make it easier for them to access schools and also help in terms of punctuality,” he said.
Dr Zhou said the meeting with Zimra was meant to seek clarity on how disabled teachers could make use of the duty exemption facility.
“It was a very important meeting as a lot of things were clarified and the intended beneficiaries will be duly notified. More information will be availed in due course,” he said.
Dr Zhou said his organisation will continue lobbying for all teachers and civil servants to be exempted from paying duty when importing cars. He said teachers, particularly those stationed in remote areas where transport is scarce, faced challenges in travelling, and allowing them to import cars for free would help alleviate their plight.
“All teachers, in fact all civil servants, should be exempted from paying duty on cars. We are proposing that one is allowed to import one car duty-free in five years. We should take a leaf from countries like Zambia who have such progressive policies,” said Dr Zhou.
He added, “Some teachers travel four days from their stations to town to access their salaries from the bank. That means one ends up missing five or so days of work every month, something that could be avoided if teachers are assisted to own cars”.
Dr Zhou said duty exemption on cars would be a welcome incentive for civil servants whose salaries have not been increased in the past seven years.
Zimra head of corporate communications Mr Canisio Mudzimu explained how the duty waiver facility works for disabled people.
“Suspension of duty is the waiver of Customs Duty and Surtax. Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable at a rate of 15 percent based on the value of the motor vehicle, plus freight, insurance and any other charges incurred before delivery of the vehicle to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mr Mudzimu also explained who, according to Zimra classification, qualifies for the privilege.
“A physically handicapped person who is blind, if the Commissioner is satisfied that the vehicle is to be used for the benefit of that person, or with a physical disability that is not temporary, if the vehicle has automatic transmission and additionally, or alternatively, special controls that render it suitable for use by that person, and the Commissioner is satisfied that the vehicle is to be used by that person.
“A person with any physical disability that impedes his/her personal mobility and is not temporary, whether or not the vehicle is of a description referred to below as long as the Commissioner is satisfied that the vehicle is to be used by that person,” he said.
Mr Mudzimu added that the make and model should be a sedan or a station wagon classified under tariff heading 8703 and carrying not more than 10 persons. He said the year of manufacture of vehicles that qualify for the exemption should not be more than 10 years. Sunday News