The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa , Midlands Correspondent
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has recovered more than $6.1 million in lost revenue from cross-border transporters who have been abusing the prepayment and pre-clearance facilities introduced during the covid-19 induced lockdown to ensure smooth movement of traffic at border posts.
During the Covid-19 lock down Zimra introduced pre-clearance and pre-payment facilities for consolidated trucks to facilitate importation of food and essential imports by private individuals
In a statement Zimra said it has recovered more than $6.1 million after it intensified searching of consolidated trucks that have been under declaring the products being imported.
Zimra said some of the imported products were being falsely declared as private while it was meant for commercial purposes thereby prejudicing the authority of potential revenue.
“Zimra regrettably wishes to acknowledge and confirm inquiries from the media and members of the public that there has been avoidable congestion at our Beitbridge border post. This is largely due to clients who have been deliberately falsifying declaration submissions under our pre-payment and pre-clearance facilities.
This facility has always been available for commercial imports. However, random spot-checks and physical inspections have shown that the quantities, price points of imported materials have been falsely declared, defeating the purpose of Pre-payment and Pre-clearance, which is intended to ensure smooth clearance and facilitation of movement of people and goods. This has forced Zimra to enforce the law by searching all the these trucks.
The facility is also being abused as a lot of the cargo being brought is commercial cargo but falsely declared as private importation.
There are huge amounts of revenue leakages at stake, for instance – as of today, the 10th of September 2020, 159 searches have been conducted with revenue recovered amounting to $6.1 million,” said Zimra.
The revenue authority said it has intensified vehicle checks and will inspect all vehicles going through Beitbridge border post.
“The huge number of false declarations as shown by the amount of revenue recoveries from each truck has resulted in 100 percent physical checks.
The risk management system in use in Customs provides for customs intervention for shipments that provide the most risk. We have noted that almost all shipments under this category have false declarations in terms of quantity and values.
The goods in question are mostly groceries – cooking oil, bath soaps, washing powder, flour, etc. The selling prices of these goods in South Africa is well known and so false declarations are easy to find out,” reads the statement.