The local automotive industry has been challenged to revive itself by increasing capacity utilisation by taking advantage of the government policy interventions.

Duty on imported vehicles is now charged in foreign currency according to the national budget statement presented by the Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube on Thursday the 22nd of November 2018.

Zimbabwe’s car imports bill for the period January and July stood at $265 million.

While the importation of second hand vehicles might have helped people, it was hurting the economy as the scarce foreign currency could no longer be directed towards productive sectors.

Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the local automotive industry must take advantage of the policy measures to up their production and help reduce the import bill.

He was speaking at the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe (MIAZ) 2018 annual congress in Victoria Falls.

“The payment of customs duty in foreign currency is set to limit the importation of pre-owned vehicles and this certainly presents real opportunities for growth to the motor industry,” said Minister Ndlovu.

The government is also mulling the introduction of inspections of the imported vehicles during the first quarter of next year.

For MIAZ president Mr Simplision Shamba, policy intervention is welcome and the sector will play its part by ensuring locally assembled vehicles become affordable.

“We welcome the measures aimed at revitalising the sector and we will play our part in ensuring that we contribute to the realisation of the economic aspirations,” he said.

The local motor industry which at its peak contributed around 4 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contribute to the realisation of the targets under the transitional stabilisation programme (TSP) through increased job creation and export earnings.