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Despite Temporary Lifting Of Import Ban, Traders Demand Scrapping Of Statutory Instrument Altogether

Zimbabwe Vendors Demonstration

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has temporarily suspended the implementation of the statutory instrument that sought to ban the importation of commodities such as milk, cooking oil, cereals, office furniture and building materials, among other goods following heavy protests at the Beitbridge Border post Monday.

Zimra official say the temporary suspension was to allow consultations between Zimra, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other stakeholders, according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Meanwhile, some cross-border traders told Studio 7 that they were unhappy with government’s ban in which the state invoked a statutory instrument that was gazette in 1974 by the Rhodesian government of Ian Douglas Smith who wanted to use it to counter sanctions that were imposed by Britain and her allies after Smith made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the colonial master.

One such trader is Tairsai Grace Mariwo who says importing the commodities was now her source of livelihood.

Mariwo sentiments were echoed by Israel Mabhowo, chairperson of the Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum or Hamref.

Chairperson of the Coalition of Traders Associations, Stan Zvorwadza, who is also the board chairperson of the National Vendors Union addressed some traders at Roadport in Harare today who were making their way to South Africa. Zvorwadza said it was now time for government to reconsider its decision because many people were now surviving on importing those commodities for resale.

Zvorwadza said it was also unlawful for Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials to confiscate the imported goods at the country’s border posts.

Thousands of people who lost their jobs are now relying on buying goods from neighboring countries, especially, South Africa. The ban, if re-enacted, will affect them.

Story By Thomas Chiripasi
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