The Sunday News
Thupeyo Muleya , Beitbridge Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has started addressing operational challenges at Beitbridge Border Post as part of promoting the ease of doing business and stimulating national economic growth, an official has said.
Speaking during a familiarisation tour of the country and Sadc’s busiest inland port of entry by Beitbridge East Member of Parliament, Cde Albert Miles Nguluvhe, Zimra shift manager Mr Paul Mutembo said the organisation was streamlining some of the operations at the border post to allow free flow of people and goods as well as maximise revenue collection.
“We are working on a number of strategies to improve the flow of both cargo and human traffic. So far we have beefed up staff at our crew desk which deals with imports and exports. These have been separated into imports and exports. Previously, this task was being handled from one desk. We have added four more officers and opened another crew desk dedicated for exports only. The export desk is currently being capacitated with the necessary tools to bring operations up to speed in the shortest possible time.”
He said the authority would continue to review operations in line with modern customs and excise standards. The crew desk is responsible for processing commercial entries of imports and exports. Initially, two officers were tasked with handling all the cargo imports but the number has been increased to eight.
It is understood that an average of 670 imports and 100 export bills of entries are processed per day at Beitbridge Border Post. A Bill of entry is used to clear commercial goods.
The Shipping and Forwarding Agents’ Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) recently called on Zimra to beef up operations and to review its standard operations procedures.
The organisation’s chairperson (Beitbridge chapter), Mr John Ndaza said the crew desk was short staffed and that the development had resulted in the slow movement of commercial cargo.
The MP said there was an urgent need to capacitate the border officials who were doing the best to curb leakages and maximise revenue collections to fund key Government programmes.
“This tour had been an eye opener. It is apparent that you are doing your level best to increase the revenue collection base.
What is then needed is for Government to improve your capacity through the provision of the necessary tools for you to deliver.
It is also important for the border authorities to arrange familiarisation tours for the representatives of the border users.
These include transporters, clearing agents and cross border traders. This will give them an opportunity to contribute to the improvement of operations here from an informed point of view,” said Cde Nguluvhe.
It is estimated that 70 percent of Zimra revenue is collected at Beitbridge alone. Zimra is reportedly collecting at least $400 million in commercial cargo alone at Beitbridge Border Post annually.