By Thupeyo Muleya
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says it recorded a seven percent increase in imports coming into the country a week prior to the closing down of borders to non-essential traffic and the implementation of a full lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Zimra spokesperson, Mr Francis Chimanda, said in the week between 16 and 22 March they cleared 2 505 incoming commercial trucks against 2 683 vehicles processed during the period 23-29 March.
“There was an increase of 178 trucks compared to the previous week giving a seven percent increase in traffic,” he said.
Mr Chimanda said during the period under review there were fewer exports on the commercial side after they processed 1 852 haulage trucks between 23 to 29 March compared 2 471 trucks cleared on export for the previous week. This, he said, indicated a decrease of 619 trucks thereby giving a variance of 25 percent.
He also said that revenue amounting to $161 351 375.92 was collected during the period 23-29 March 2020 compared to $140 242 197.49 collected for period 16-22 March 2020, giving a positive variance of $21 108 578.43 (15 percent).
“Currently, there is a reduction in south-bound trucks, while the north-bound is still experiencing long queues as the South African Revenues Services (SARS) is releasing both Zimbabwe destined trucks and transit trucks,” said Mr Chimanda.
The official said some of the major imports coming into the country via Beitbridge include mining equipment, cleaning materials, maize and wheat, electrical goods and steel.
On exports, he said they were mainly processing bills of entries for copper cathodes and MET coke.
Beitbridge is one the busiest inland ports in Sadc, which links South Africa and most countries north of the Zambezi River among them, Malawi, DRC, Zambia, Tanzania, and Angola.
An estimated 80 000 trucks use the border yearly while over 100 000 destined for the local market use the same port.
In 2018, South Africa is believed to have exported goods worth over US$3,2 billion to Zimbabwe formally via Beitbridge alone and considering that there are many alternative ports to get to the two countries, and some people smuggle things across the border the figures could be more.
Zimra said recently that a total of US$307 133 023.59 was collected from imports originating from South Africa that came through Beitbridge in 2018 alone. The Chronicle