By Thupeyo Muleya
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has recorded a decline of $27 million from commercial and vehicle imports in the first 10 days after Government legalised the payment of duty on specified goods in foreign currency, it has emerged.
Zimra collects about 30 percent of Government revenue.
In addition, 70 percent of the parastatal’s money is collected at Beitbridge Border Post alone where they rake in around $400 million annually.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube recently announced the new imports regime which came into effect on 23 November.
However, the move has seen very few people importing the goods and vehicles due to the scarcity of foreign currency, mainly United States Dollars.
Zimra’s Head of Communications Mr Francis Chimanda said that 10 days before the announcement of the new budget statement, they collected a total of $44, 579, 314, 94 from duty on commercial goods.
“Further, a total of $17,935,969.83 in revenue was collected between 23 November and 2 December 2018 on commercial goods at all ports of entry,” he said.
Mr Chimanda said they collected $5,4 million (between 12 and 22 November) and $1,6 million (between 23 November and 2 December) respectively on vehicle imports nationwide.
He said vehicle imports through Beitbridge had declined from around 200 to 40 daily.
“An average of 40 vehicles are being cleared on a daily basis. Further, the national daily average of revenue collected for imported vehicles and commercial goods is $267,311.90 and $3,1 million daily.
“We also take note of non-compliance towards duty payments as a result of several factors including; attitude of some clients towards paying taxes, restricted border infrastructure versus the ever-increasing volumes of travellers who pass through the border during peak periods and the impact of stakeholder or partner processes in the clearance of travellers,” said Mr Chimanda.
He said Zimra was rolling out a number of strategies to curb intrusive leakages through the country’s borders.
Mr Chimanda said they have deployed staff from less busy stations to enhance the labour force at major border posts especially during peak periods.
“In addition, Zimra will be setting up temporary collection points at strategic places within the border to ensure travellers are served expeditiously during the festive period,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ), Mr Joseph Musariri, said yesterday that business was also low for their members as a result of a decline in imports.
“You will also note that we are not legally allowed to charge (for services) in forex even though for airfreight shipments (for example) some airlines demand payment of exports in forex. All our clients are paying for services through the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) method,” he said.
Car dealers on the South African side of the border, where most vehicles are imported from, said business had reached its lowest ebb, with some of them selling three vehicles daily or five weekly. The Chronicle