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Zimbabwe business people involved in potatoes smuggling in Botswana

by Stephen Jakes
25 Apr 2022 at 07:00hrs | Views
ZIMBABWEAN business people are reportedly involved in the alleged smuggling of potatoes syndicate with South African farmers and Botswana business men following the import ban of selected vegetable commodities in that country.

Botswana's media reported that the import ban on selected vegetable commodities such as tomatoes, carrots, beetroots, cabbage and potatoes, which the neighbouring country's government imposed three months ago exposed the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS)'s porous system.

The tax agency was overwhelmed by the smuggling of potatoes from neighbouring South Africa and according to sources, the potatoes are smuggled by a syndicate that involves South African farmers, Zimbabweans and local businessmen. 

This is said to be happening on a daily basis despite Burs operations.

A lot of goods go undetected at Botswana borders, as detecting goods machines remain faulty.

"BURS, which has the responsibility to ensure that goods that come into the country are cleared and taxed, have slept on the job. They know very well what is happening at the borders but there is nothing much the officers at the border can do because their control scanners are not functioning," the reports state.

Smuggled potatoes are flooding the Botswana market with some smugglers selling them on social media while some sell in front of retail shops.

Botswana government banned the importation of vegetables in a bid to force local food retailers to buy vegetables from local farmers.

Statistics Botswana show that, on an annual basis, local retailers import vegetables worth more than P100 million from South Africa.

"In September 2021 alone, retailers spent around P24 million importing vegetables outside," the report reads.

Botswana business analysts  reportedly welcomed the ban but said there should have been consultation and given a grace period prior to implementation.

Source - Byo24News