Chaile calls for revision of vehicle import duty

A LUSAKA-BASED entrepreneur has appealed to the incoming UPND government to consider revising the import duty on vehicles.

In an interview yesterday, Vincent Chaile said the country should not only celebrate the recent appreciation of kwacha but that its positive impact should have a trickledown effect to benefit the common man.

“Before import duty was increased on second hand cars, this was a source of employment for a lot of car dealers and clearing agents,” he said.

Chaile, a former University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) member, said the depreciation of the kwacha and high import duty closed down many businesses and many youths were left jobless.

Moreover, Chaile said, vehicles were no longer a luxury or status symbol.

“A number of vehicles were imported during the MMD government between 2005 to 2008 under president [Levy] Mwanawasa when the kwacha against the dollar was below K3. A number of vehicles bought at that time have now depreciated – they are moving scrap metal,” he said. “Importing a small car like a Toyota Vitz or Corolla can cost someone between K70,000 to K100,000 with the current economic situation and high import duty, so how many Zambians can afford to buy a second hand car?”

Chaile noted that many civil servants, graduates, taxi drivers, and young businesspeople would want to take the opportunity of the kwacha’s appreciation to import cars but were being discouraged due to the high import duty.

He said if vehicles imported some 15 years ago are not replaced and are still on the road, they would be a serious safety concern and could have adverse impact on the environment due to high emissions.

“The lifespan of every vehicle is five years [and] that is why in government, after five years, vehicles are sold at book value,” said Chaile.

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