Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has started working on new strategies to plug corruption and speed up the movement of cargo through the country’s ports of entry, an official has said.
Speaking to journalists during a familiarisation tour of Beitbridge Border Post yesterday, the new Zimra Commissioner-General, Ms Faith Mazani, said the new strategies were primed to maximise revenue collection.
Part of the strategies, she said, included upgrading the Internet-based Automated System for Customs Data (Ascyuda World Plus), the inspection of specified cargo at importers’ premises and ISO certification of clients under the Authorised Economic Operators Programme.
“We are seized with the issues of corruption and the proliferation of stakeholders within our ports, especially at Beitbridge, which result in unnecessary delays in the movement of both people and cargo,” said Ms Mazani.
“If we take a look at the last 11 years, you will note that as a country, we have not been able to reorganise the border to plug intrusive leakages.
“We are streamlining operations through the introduction of a single window programme, where we feed information into one system and the stakeholders can work with agreed turnover times.
“It is important to have a situation where we minimise cases where stakeholders have to come to the border for unnecessary procedures, which can be easily conducted outside the border arena.”
According to Ms Mazani, Zimra intended to increase its current stock of electronic seals, which are being using for the Electronic Cargo Tracking System that monitored trucks moving within Zimbabwe.
The seals are reusable.
“In addition, we have acquired new servers, which are compatible with the Asycuda World Plus System,” said Ms Mazani. “We have to boost our server’s capacity, improve maintenance and capacitate the human resource component to improve efficiency.
“As you are aware, we lost some technicians following that forensic audit, which saw many people leaving Zimra. A team of experts has been recruited to handle our Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Further, it is pleasing to note that the new servers were delivered on Sunday and they are being installed.”
Ascyuda, said Ms Mazani, was an effective system being used in over 90 countries.
She said Zimra was working on upgrading the system and mobile scanners to the latest modules.
“Both the mobile scanners and Asycuda have not been upgraded for over 11 years and we can’t have such a situation,” said Ms Mazani.
“We need to scale up our efforts to enhance efficiency.
“At the same time, we note with concern the infrastructure shortages, which are making it difficult to streamline operations, including the separation of traffic into private motorists, buses, commercial and specified cargo, among others.
“However, (we) are grateful that through the Government’s rapid results programme, we have received the support to pave and reorganise the arrivals (commercial) section.”
Ms Mazani said the infrastructure at Beitbridge Border Post was not in tandem with the workload and its status as the busiest inland port in Sub Saharan Africa.
She said Zimra had adopted a zero tolerance to corruption.
“Corruption is one of the things we find in revenue collection and we will not fold our hands,” said Ms Mazani. “We have disciplinary and grievance procedures to weed out some of the bad apples.”