Measures to curb smuggling on cards

GOVERNMENT, through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), is working on a raft of measures to contain rampant smuggling of goods through the country’s borders in an effort to curb loss of revenue. Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last month launched Government’s economic blueprint, TSP, which runs up to December 2020.

According to the TSP document, Government recognises corruption in the collection of public revenue as a major source of leakage.

The measures, which include improvement of security systems and installation of scanners, will go a long way in improving revenue collection at the borders.

“The TSP targets measures to contain rampant smuggling of goods, which include groceries, blankets, hardware items, spices, knock-down furniture and motor vehicles into the economy.

“This will entail improving installation of scanners at Beitbridge, Forbes, Plumtree, Kariba and Chirundu border posts, complemented by strengthening of Electronic Cargo Tracking Systems,” reads the document.

The TSP will influence the improvement of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) systems and technologies to overcome delays at ports of entry that weaken systems and create opportunities for avoidance of customs duty.

“This also avoids costly delays related to physical checks of trucks, with Beitbridge alone processing 400-500 trucks daily.

“Government is also moving in to plug leakages through the country’s porous borders providing illegal crossing points which are conduits for smuggled goods, depriving Treasury of much-needed revenue for capital projects,” reads the TSP.

Government will also come up with interventions to support Zimra and other agencies in monitoring illegal entry points, given that smuggling also poses unfair competition to local manufacturing companies.

It will also be re-developing the Beitbridge Border Post, which has poor facilities that can longer cope with large volumes of traffic.

“Smuggling also extends to minerals, as smugglers capitalise on systemic weaknesses and shortfalls on monitoring and deterring mineral smuggling activities.

“This also includes false declarations on mineral assays by non-ISO certified laboratories which lead to under-invoicing of mineral exports.

“The TSP will, therefore, institute measures to strengthen monitoring systems, which include improving the monitoring and surveillance arm of the MMCZ by increasing the number of monitors and extending their reach,” it says.

“Strict monitoring of both small and large-scale exporters and the establishment of an ISO certified state-of-the-art mineral testing laboratory in-situ at MMCZ to ascertain the mineral quality before an invoice is raised.”