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Zimbabweans in South Africa Want Food Import Duty Scrapped

A woman carries bags with toilet paper rolls.

Some Zimbabweans in South Africa are reportedly seeking audience with Zimbabwe Embassy officials to ask their government to suspend customs duty on essential food commodities in the face of a crippling drought that has left thousands facing hunger.

The Zimbabweans say they are seriously affected by the high duty charged for the goods and they want the embassy to urge the government to scrape the duty.

They say in some cases they end up paying double for the goods.

Traveler’s rebate, also known as the duty free allowance, is pegged at US$300 and is granted, on a few qualifying goods to a traveler once a month on first arrival in Zimbabwe.

Many Zimbabweans buy their groceries from neighboring countries where they are much cheaper.

However, Southern regional spokesman, Comfort Muchekeza, of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe told Studio 7 that it would be impossible to totally remove the duty but could make sense if it was reduced on basic food stuff.

"The challenge that we have currently is that the business community, the local industry in Zimbabwe are crying foul, they are saying the government has relaxed some of the laws such that some imports are killing their business," he said.

He added that the government in trying to address the matter contracted a French company Bureau Veritas to ensure that goods getting into the country meet the standard.

"The second issue that we are pushing is the issue of high taxes. We are saying if people are buying basic stuff like maize meal, cooking oil and so forth can the government be lenient," he said.

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