Zimra deploys more staff to Beitbridge Border Post
By Farai Machamire
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is set to expand service points for duty assessments and deploy additional staff at Beitbridge Border Post in anticipation of an increase in traffic and cargo following the lifting of import restrictions.
This comes after government lifted a ban of imports of listed basic commodities into Zimbabwe from South Africa.
Government started allowing imports of certain basic commodities that were previously banned under the Open General Import Licence on Tuesday last week.
Following last week’s Cabinet meeting, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters that government had lifted import restrictions on a number of basic products “pending the return to normalcy of buying patterns by the public and adequate restocking by manufacturers.”
And while Zimra has invested a lot in technology, it still operates in a semi-manual environment which has also opened the door for malpractices and other inefficiencies.
Zimra head corporate communications Francis Chimanda told the Daily News that the authority had put in place measures to ensure the quick movement of goods.
“Beitbridge Border Post has put measures in place to deal with the anticipated increase in traffic and cargo due to the announced removal of import restrictions,” Chimanda said.
“These measures include expanding the service points for duty assessments and cash office functions in the light commercial vehicle area. Additional staff will also be deployed to Beitbridge to ensure that clearance processes are efficiently undertaken.”
The porous nature of Zimbabwe’s borders has also been a cause of concern for the new Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
After last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting decried the rate of smuggling at the country’s borders but was hopeful that by opening up imports, goods will now come through the front door.
Chimanda, however, said Zimra was on top of the situation since the lifting of the import restrictions.
“Since the pronouncement by government on the lifting of import restrictions, Beitbridge has not experienced any congestion as far as clearance of travellers and goods is concerned,” he said.
He also staunchly denied allegation of widespread corruption by Zimra staff at the ports of entry.
“Zimra has zero tolerance for corruption and any malpractices by its staff members are dealt with swiftly and in accordance with the Zimra code of conduct,” he said.
Zimra has insisted that has been working around the clock to reduce smuggling but bemoaned the presence of sophisticated syndicates as well and limited support to curb the vice. DailyNews