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Government Bolsters Control Over Used Car Imports, What It Means for Buyers?

Imports of second-hand cars that are more than 10 years old from the date of manufacture are now totally banned and those bringing any will now be compelled to send them to the country of purchase at their own expense.

Statutory Instrument 54 of 2024 cited as Control of Goods (Import and Export) (Commerce) (Amendment) Regulations, 2024 (No. 10) gazetted by Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu yesterday, deletes the old 2021 need for an import licence for older cars and replaces it with a pure ban plus a re-export requirement.

“Second-hand vehicles aged 10 years and above from the date of manufacture shall not be imported. Any second-hand vehicle prohibited under this subsection shall be re-exported by the owner of the said vehicle at his or her expense,” read the SI.

The previous and now repealed section said people were required to obtain an import licence from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to import vehicles that were 10 years or older.

Imports of commercial vehicles, tractors, haulage trucks, earth- moving equipment and other specialised vehicles used in mining and construction sectors remain exempted from the ban.

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In his 2020-2021 budget statement, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Mthuli Ncube said the ban on old second-hand cars was meant to contain the import bill and promote the domestic motor industry.

Prof Ncube noted that Zimbabweans had spent about US$1,3 billion on the imports of buses, light commercial, and passenger motor vehicles from 2015 to September 2020.

“This is despite the existence of capacity by the local motor industry to assemble the above-mentioned range of motor vehicles,” he said then.

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“Furthermore, due to lack of effective standards and regulation, unroadworthy vehicles, which, in some instances fail to meet environmental and safety standards, find their way onto the market. In line with the National Development Strategy 1, which underscores value addition, I propose to remove second-hand motor vehicles aged 10 years and above, from the date of manufacture at the time of import, from the open general Iimport licence.”

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That meant each imported vehicle needed a special import licence.

Zimbabweans mostly import second-hand vehicles from Japan, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

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