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Beitbridge cross-border transporters seek exemption

by Staff reporter
20 May 2020 at 07:26hrs | Views
THE Beitbridge Cross-border Transporters Association has written to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) asking for its members to be allowed to traverse across Zimbabwe and South Africa for procurement of goods on behalf of the locals.

In a letter to Zimra regional manager Innocent Chikuni, the association's chairman Takavingei Mahachi said following the extension of the lockdown to an indefinite period, levels of smuggling had escalated in the border town, a development prejudicing the country of the much-needed revenue through duty payment.

As part of the measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday extended the lockdown indefinitely.

The move is, however, hurting cross-border business and locals who depend on South Africa for most of their processed food requirements.

South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner.

"Following the pronouncement by His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa on the extension of the lockdown to an indefinite period, it has become evident due to escalated levels of smuggling that the community is slowly running out of affordable basic commodities and thereby resorts to smuggling using ungazetted points of entry,"the letter read in part.

"This sad development does not only result in revenue losses but also escalates the likelihood of the importation of the virus during the process."

Mahachi said local cross-border traders and their South African counterparts wanted a limited number of registered cross-border vehicles to "be allowed to traverse across the two countries for procurement of goods on behalf of the locals that shall be subjected to duty payment accordingly".

Under the arrangement, he said such drivers would be treated as commercial truck drivers in terms of screening for COVID-19.

"The transporters will not make daily trips, but make a single trip per week for a start based on the successes recorded. The vehicles will not carry any passengers, but shall have only the driver on board who makes the purchases on behalf of the community orders," Mahachi, who is also a local councillor, said.

Source - newsday