Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
BULK importers have been urged to establish bonded warehouses so as to avoid paying unnecessary import related taxes, which are usually dumped on consumers in the form of high costs.
Tax management consultant Mr Tendai Mavima told an Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) stakeholders conference here on Wednesday that customers are made to pay higher prices for goods as suppliers seek to recoup what they would have been charged while importing the goods.
He said in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, businesses are allowed to establish own bonded warehouses where they can import goods such as medicines and pharmaceutical goods in bulk and store without paying tax immediately, which results in affordable products to customers.
“When people import goods they pay duty and VAT at the time of importing and if they don’t have money they have to borrow to meet Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) demands and that’s costly for business,” said Mr Mavima.
He challenged businesses especially pharmaceutical players to make efficient decisions that ensure they remain in business while also abiding by tax obligations.
He said the solution is to import goods in bulk and store them in a bonded warehouse from where duty will be paid only for those goods to be released from the warehouse in any particular month, which is less costly.
“When business registers a bonded warehouse with Zimra it can import into the warehouse say goods for the whole year but pay duty for goods released for the market each month,” he said.
AHFoZ chief executive officer Mrs Shylet Sanyanga echoed Mr Mavima’s sentiments saying the cost of medical services was way beyond the reach of most people who end up seeking treatment in neighbouring countries.
She said as a result the number of people on medical aid remained subdued hence the need to encourage people to join health insurance cover.
The AHFoZ annual stakeholders meeting began on Wednesday and ended on Friday under the theme “The healthcare elements, cost, access and sustainability.” — @ncubeleon