Press statement on the illogical statutory instrument 64 of 2016

Movement For Democratic Change

It is sad to note that the country continues to slide deeper and deeper into crises. The economic situation is deteriorating by the day, the vendor economy or informal economy that characterizes Zimbabwe and the record unemployment levels are no coincidence but it seems the government of the day lacks the imagination, the capacity nor policy package to get out of this crisis and Zimbabweans are now fighting for survival which has resulted in the creation of an informal economy.

The informal sector however has not been spared by the crises facing the nation.

Recently the Ministry of Finance through Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) introduced the Statutory Instrument Number 64 of 2016. The instrument sought to stop travelers and those in the informal sector on imports of basic commodities. The screws have been tightened on the importation of essential merchandise which is either scarce or very expensive in the country through the introduction of permits to import and export goods. Given the current economic malaise, the instrument totally defies logic in letter and spirit it is not only repugnant of the basic tenets of economic rights; it is also out of touch with the economic reality facing the country.

Some of the commodities that have been targeted by the instrument are the most basic commodities like cooking oil among others. The application and subsequent implementation of the instrument was ill timed and ruthless. This was done without consultation or engagement with the key stakeholders in the sector. We therefore deplore the confiscation of traders’ wares and goods at the country’s border posts by customs officials and the police.

The move by state to confiscate the traders’ ware or goods without warning was inhumane and inconsiderate and unconstitutional. The attendant protests by traders against the ill conceived move and action by the state is justified and government should urgently attend to the crisis. The action has not only curtailed people’s businesses but their sources of livelihood as well.

As the MDC, we urge the powers that be to suspend the Instrument which requires people to produce permits and allow people to continue engaging in genuine and innocent means of survival under these very difficult economic circumstances. We also call on the ZIMRA officials to stop the confiscation of goods from the traders and to allow sanity to prevail at the boarder entries. The relevant ministry should immediately restore order at the border post. The implementation of the instrument by ZIMRA has caused chaos and anarchy at the Beitbridge Border post.

ZIMRA did not give the people time to adjust to the new regulations as they were never publicized or discussed. It is always important for the government to always consult and engage its stakeholders. The regulations are affecting the poorest citizens of our communities. As of now the implementation of the new regulations must be suspended pending consultations with the informal sector, ZIMRA, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other stakeholders”.

The Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 should be repealed as a matter of urgency as it is unconstitutional and total violation of people’s fundamental rights of livelihood.

Sen. Timveous
(Chairperson National Domestic Affairs)

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