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Zimbabwe suspends import duty on COVID-19 medical supplies

By People Daily
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Photo taken shows Zimbabwe's main COVID-19 isolation and treatment center, Wilkins Hospital, in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. (Xinhua)
HARARE, 

  The Zimbabwe government has suspended duty on imported medical supplies in a bid to improve their availability, Mthuli Ncube, the finance minister, said Monday.
   In order to enhance preparedness to fight the novel coronavirus and also guided by the United Nations COVID-19 Medical Supplies, Zimbabwe further suspends duty and tax on various list of goods and services related to testing, protection, sterilization and other medical consumables, among others.
   "The Zimbabwe revenue authority will, with immediate effect, allow duty free importation of above-mentioned goods, pending gazette of the necessary legal instrument," the minister said.
   Zimbabwe, which began a 21-day national lockdown on Monday has so far recorded seven cases of COVID-19 and one death.
   Last week, the government temporarily lifted the ban on the use of the U.S. dollar to allow Zimbabweans with free funds to use them in local transactions in the wake of the pandemic.
   Minister Ncube said in light of COVID-19, government had lifted a freeze on over 4,000 health sector posts and will also create an additional 200 medical posts to scale up the response to the pandemic.
   He said government was redirecting some capital expenditure in the 2020 national budget towards fighting the pandemic, adding that government had already availed over 100 million Zimbabwe dollars for that purpose.
   The government, Ncube said, will also provide cash disbursements to one million vulnerable households during the period of the pandemic. (Xinhua)

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