Zimra puts cap on imported goods

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has set the maximum quantities of good cross-border travellers can import for personal use that can be covered under the traveller’s rebate.

By Everson Mushava

Travellers rebate is granted on goods up to the value of free on board $200 or equivalent. The goods, properly declared; should be imported for personal use.

In an internal communication from the Zimra head of technical services, Cecilia Chiyangwa to provide a guide to regional and station managers dated November 6, items in excess of the stipulated maximum quantity per item will be considered commercial and therefore excluded from the privilege.

“If the quantities imported by a traveller exceed the stipulated maximum quantities shown in the table below, then the particular item will be deemed commercial, hence cannot be considered under rebate,” Chiyangwa wrote.

“For example, if a traveller imports seven shirts against an approved four shirts, the whole consignment shall be deemed commercial, hence full duty should be charged on the seven without allowing rebate on the four.”

Chiyangwa added: “It should be brought to the importers’ attention that it is still an office for any importer to imports goods within the set limits under rebate when goods are meant for commercial use.”

The circular came after reports of a surge in the number of people travelling out of the country to buy commodities after the repeal of sections of Statutory Instrument 122 by government late last month in the wake of shortages of commodities on the local market precipitated by shortages of foreign currency.

Prices of goods on the local market have also skyrocketed and become out of reach for many.

According to the list with about 71 items, a traveller will be allowed to bring in five litres of cooking oil that has been in short supply to be covered under rebate, 10 bags of cement, 10 bags of fertiliser, 20 sheets of steel roofing material, 40 square metres of ceramic tiles, two toilet sets and cisterns, two bath tubs, two sinks, 300 Harvey tiles, among others.

Travellers are also limited to 25kg of rice, 5kg macaroni, 8kg spaghetti, 5 litres of alcoholic beverages with not more than two litres spirits, 10 litres of soft drinks, one television set, deep freezer, radio, washing machine and vacuum cleaner.

Only four pairs of footwear are allowed per traveller, four jackets, shirts, four jean trousers, T-shirts, shorts, five panties, five brassieres, five pairs of socks, and two standard packs of hair relaxer, among others. Ice creams have been limited to 5kg, two packets of sweets, one wheelbarrow and 12 tablets of bath soap.