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Border corruption distresses minister

by Staff reporter
26 Mar 2021 at 18:04hrs | Views
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has bemoaned the rampant corruption being experienced at Zimbabwe's ports of entry, which he says is prejudicing the country of billions of dollars.

The Treasury chief said yesterday that the smuggling of goods in and out of the country was a cancerous vice that was derailing Zimbabwe's economic development.

In a speech read on his behalf by Finance ministry permanent secretary, George Guvamatanga - to mark International Customs Day - Ncube said the government would introduce more measures to deal with graft.

"The corruption at ports of entry usually manifests through smuggling, under-valuation or under-declaration of imported goods, as well as collusion with Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) officials, clearing agents and transporters, among other rent-seeking behaviour which is detrimental to the country's developmental agenda," he said.

Ncube further challenged Zimra to contribute towards the realisation of the region's integration agenda - through the strict enforcement of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System, which he said was crucial in detecting and reducing incidences of transit fraud.

"There is, thus, a need for Zimra to forge stronger partnerships with other border agencies and associated partners and work towards the enhancement of the trade facilitation mandate," he said.

This comes as Zimbabwe continues to battle massive corruption which authorities have admitted is bleeding the country's struggling economy.

The government estimates that in the extractive industry alone, the country is on average losing between US$1,5 billion and US$2 billion annually through rampant smuggling of minerals, mainly gold.

Meanwhile, Zimra acting commissioner general, Rameck Masaire, said the revenue collector had decided to use integrated automation and innovative technology to bring convenience to clients and reduce physical interaction to reduce stakeholders' exposure to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The authority has increased online clearance methods, motor vehicle valuations are now being processed online, while application for temporary importation privileges (TIPs) can be done on email as well.

"Appeals and applications for rebates are being submitted and responded to online, markedly improving our compliance to new normal protocols.

"Immigrants rebate interviews are now done on Skype after submissions of required documents have been sent online," Masaire said at the same event.

"Stakeholders and business should also embrace the pre-clearance of goods, which is key in enhancing movement of commercial cargo at ports of entry, also cognisant of the need to reduce physical contacts, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.

Source - dailynews