Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau—
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has suspended the implementation of Statutory Instrument Number 64 of 2016 which sought to tighten screws on imports of basic commodities following protests by travellers at Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday.Zimra had started implementing the new regulations, which made the importation of food items, building material, furniture, toiletries and cooking oil among other things virtually impossible without prior notice to travellers.
There was chaos at Beitbridge Border Post on Saturday afternoon, with travellers resisting the seizure of the imported goods, which now require people to have permits.
The listed goods include salad cream, milk, shoe polish, cooking oil, bottled water, door and window frames, wheelbarrows, baked beans, fertiliser, beds, office furniture, second-hand tyres, vegetables, canned fruits, cereals, cheese and ice creams among others.
Sources said travellers teamed up and started singing revolutionary songs denouncing Zimra. Normalcy only returned after anti-riot police had been called in. Zimra regional manager for Beitbridge Mr Batsirai Chadzingwa later calmed the travellers.
“The regional manager later told the travellers that they could revert to the normal situation where they paid 40 percent duty for their items rather than the provisions of the new Statutory Instrument.
“As of now, the implementation of the new regulations is suspended pending consultations between Zimra, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other stakeholders,” said a Zimra official.
Mr Chadzingwa could not be reached for comment yesterday. The organisations’ communication department could not respond to e-mailed questions by last night. By end of day yesterday, the border post was almost empty amid reports that travellers were adopting a wait-and-see attitude.