“I don’t see anything wrong in helping the disabled,” bragged a local car dealer (name supplied), adding that he was paying th em for assisting him to import vehicles from South Africa for resale.
Disabled people are entitled to import vehicles duty free. Another car dealer, also named, admitted doing well in his business as he was not paying duty for the vehicles he imported, thanks to a chain of deals with disabled people in his town and even from rural areas in Manicaland.
“ The car selling business here does very well, especially with diamond dealers nearby. So I made plans to work with the disabled, who are privileged to import vehicles duty free,” he said.
But Mac Haraj, another car dealer, criticized those deceiving the government by evading paying duty. “It’s not good to take advantage of the plight of the handicapped and use them to one’s advantage,” he said.
“These people are in dire need to make ends meet. So if you approach them with promises of money, wanting them to import vehicles on your behalf for resale, they will obviously give in. But how much do they get? In most cases here in Mutare, the dealers pay them from $250 to $300. Yet these ruthless car dealers reap exorbitant profits when they sell the vehicles,” Haraj said.
A disabled man who uses a wheelchair said he was grateful for the car dealers who continued to approach him for help to import automatic vehicles on free duty.
“You see, I can’t walk and it is difficult for me to fend for myself and my family, so these car dealers are my saviours,” he said.
He said the vehicles are bought in his name and all the paper work is done soon after the vehicles reach home to change ownership.
Farai Mukuta, Executive Director for the National Association for the Care of the Handicapped castigated business persons who abused the car import facility meant to benefit the disabled.
“We can not allow the government to be defrauded by these dubious car dealers, who do not want to pay for the vehicles they bring in the country, abusing people who are disabled in the process,” Mukuta said.
“The growing rot could be due to some ZIMRA officials conniving with car dealers and the disabled persons.” He said his organisation had formally written to the Ministry of Finance to address the problem.
He urged ZIMRA to work with NASCOH to clear vehicles reported to have been imported for the disabled persons.
“If ZIMRA would want to clear vehicles purported to belong to disabled persons, NASCOH would be of great help as we know disabled persons from our database,” Mukuta said.
“Disabled persons found to be conniving with car dealers to import vehicles on free duty should be banned from any benefits associated with the free duty car import facility,” he said.
The government’s policy is one person per vehicle.Post published in: News