By Tatenda Mujeyi
Mixed reactions have followed Government’s call to ban importation of vehicles manufactured 10 years from date of importation as gazzeted late last week.
According to statutory provisions published Friday last week in the Government Gazzete, importation of vehicles over 10 years will require special licences from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
“Second-hand motor vehicles aged ten (10) years and above, from the date of manufacture at the time of importation shall require an import license from the ministry of industry and commerce.” The provisions in the Gazzete noted.
As if to argue government’s industrialisation drive, importation of commercial vehicles and specialised vehicles is not part of the legislation.
“Commercial vehicles (tractors, haulage trucks, earth moving equipment) and other specialized vehicles used in mining and construction sectors shall be exempted,” the Gazzete provisioned.
On the environmental front, the move is a positive as it will likely reduce the carbon emissions charecteristic of the cars produced in an past era with technology of little environmental best practices.
“Because of age, we believe that engine efficiency becomes low. It implies we are more likely to get higher carbon emissions from poor performing engines or engines of lower efficiency.” Mrs Amkela Sidange Environmental Education and Publicity Manager for the country’s environmental regulator Environmental Management Agency said.
Key Stakeholders feel the move will go a long way in controlling waste management as the importation creates a redundancy chain tha is waste accumulative.
“There is the issue of chain of custody. They come in with age and this means they are at Thier end of life, end of life means disposal part. Thats were there is a gap on how these vehicles will be disposed of. This ban could also assist in the area of waste management.” Sidanke said.
Furthermore, despite seeming elitistic, the move tallies well with environmental best practices that accounts to treaties, conventions and agreements Zimbabwe is signatory to.
“The SI has environmental implications; As we are signatories to the Paris Agreement we made a commitment as a country to reduce our carbon emissions. This hence shows commitment and comes in handy to actually enhance or rather support the commitment we made .” Mrs Sidanke further said.
The call follows The Minister of Finances 2021 budget statement calls to protect the local motor industry from the ‘dumping’ practice and meets environmental positives that however not reflective of the real industrial dynamics.
“Whilst the calls for environmental protection, local industry support and balance of payment stands. There is need to evaluate the actual issues on the ground. The local motor manufacturing industry faces viability challenges coupled by operational inconsistencies that might take a long time to altar.” A popular Harare Car Dealer who preferred not to be named said.
The move might further impact on the country’s GDP as vehicle importation remained a top foreign currency earner for the country which has a dwindled motor manufacturing industry.
With other countries subsidising electric car purchases, banning and embargoering vehicle importation, the technicalities that government will institute in implementing the statute remain imperative but requires holistic evaluation.
Zimbabwe’s motor industry has faced stiffled growth owing to the ‘willowvale scandal’, the Country’s 2000 and global 2008 recession among other viability challengeshallenges which skeptics argue underpin the legislation’s success potential.
By Tatenda Mujeyi