ZIMBABWE imported more second-hand vehicles in 2020 compared to 2019, despite unprecedented disruptions caused by Covid-19 on the maritime and shipping industry, official figures show.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) indicate that vehicle imports grew by 9,9% to 55 500 from 50 781 between 2019 and 2020.
The increase was recorded despite challenges that hit the global shipping industry, which recorded a 4,1% drop in maritime trade last year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The global shipping industry is essentially the backbone of global trade as it plays an integral part in the supply chain for most industries, including the automobile sector.
The bulk of the country’s second-hand vehicle imports are shipped from Japan and the United Kingdom.
As countries introduced lockdowns towards the end the first quarter last year, this impacted negatively on business.
According to statistics, Zimbabwe felt this adverse impact during the first lockdown in April 2020, as 484 vehicles were imported against 4 135 units brought in during the same month of the previous year.
“Variations can be attributed on the implications of the coronavirus since it affected all nations on imports and exports. Closing of borders and restrictions of movements made it difficult to supply,” Zimra head corporate communication Francis Chimanda said.
“Also reduction of disposable income resulted in demand for vehicles going down…as many individuals would opt for essential or basic products,” However, import volumes gradually increased on a monthly basis and subsequently dwarfed the 2019 figures.”
In May 2020, the figure picked to 2 512 units but remained way below the 4 156 units imported during the same comparative month in 2019.
The statistics highlighted that between January and March, 2020 and from June onwards, vehicle imports surpassed the comparative months.
Zimra indicated that the total Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the annual imported vehicles stood at ZW$16,7 million (US$199 000) in 2020 up from ZW$2,4 million (US$28 608) in 2019.
In terms of revenue, the taxman managed to collect ZW$4,2 million (US$50 065) up from ZW$789 819 074.30 (US$9,4 million) during the same comparative period.
Meanwhile, the local assembling plants – Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, AVM Africa and Quest Motor Corporation — are complaining over lack of support.
Quest Motors general manager Tom Sarimana said vehicle sales plunged to less than 10 units per month from a record 700 units over the past three decades, translating to a 98% drop.
However, concerns have been raised over the high cost of assembled vehicles. — Staff Writer.