Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has introduced mobile baggage scanners at Beitbridge Border Post to reduce incidents of smuggling and intrusive leakages.
The hi-tech mobile scanners were introduced last week amid reports that the parastatal was failing to meet its daily revenue collection target of $2 million.
There are four gadgets which were deployed to Beitbridge Border Post to scan for items such as drugs, among other restricted goods.
At the moment one machine is being used on the departure section, while efforts are underway to install the other three on the arrivals section.
The scanners are part of a cocktail of measures Government is employing at the ports of entry to curb corruption, smuggling and increase the revenue collection base.
Zimra officials at the border told an inter-ministerial committee led by Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo a fortnight ago that they were losing almost 20 percent of targeted revenue to smuggling.
One of the senior managers, Mr Mkhluli Nkulumo, told the team that they were collecting an average of $1,2 million and $1,5 million per day.
“Our revenue inflows have been failing to grow which saw the travellers rebate being revised downwards from $300 to $200 under statutory instrument 148 of 2015 (Customs and Excise (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2015 (No 80) issued recently by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” he said.
“This has resulted in increased smuggling and issues of under valuations by most travellers to avoid paying huge amounts in terms of import duties,” he said.
He said they were using sniffer dogs and mobile scanners for commercial cargo with the view of detecting contraband.
He said they were also losing out on revenue on commercial cargo which was being brought into the country under the removal in transit facility.
“We do not charge duty on goods which are in transit to other countries and this has seen that facility being abused by people who pretended to be transporting goods to other areas but later offload them locally,” he said.
Dr Chombo said recently Government had started working on availing more resources to Beitbridge Border Post with the view of enhancing security and efficient border management systems.
He said Government had mobilised over $600 000 to address some of the challenges affecting the border authorities including procuring all-terrain vehicles and various gadgets to curb intrusive leakages along the border line.
He said they were also seized with the reports of rampant corruption among its employees at the border.
“It is worrisome that we are importing for $7 billion per year and getting around $3 billion on exports. It means we could be losing a lot to smuggling,” lamented Dr Chombo.
He said they had installed CCTV at Beitbridge Border Post to address issues of corruption.
The minister said efforts were being made to deploy more human resources to cope with the task at hand at Beitbridge.