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Border authorities intercept 21 smuggling commercial trucks

by Staff reporter
26 Jun 2020 at 18:09hrs | Views
AUTHORITIES at Beitbridge Border Post have increased surveillance and anti-smuggling activities during the ongoing lockdown and 21 trucks and 22 other vehicles smuggling an assortment of goods worth millions of dollars have since been intercepted.

Zimbabwe remains the only viable transit route for countries that include Zambia, Malawi, DRC, Tanzania and Angola.

According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), traffic volumes per day, both import and export, increased from an average of 450 daily in 2019 to 1 000 between March and June this year.

Prior to the lockdown, Zimra was clearing around 500 commercial trucks daily.

Zimra's regional manager for Beitbridge, Mr Innocent Chikuni recently said the smuggling of groceries and related items remains the biggest challenge.

He was speaking during the tour of the border by the revenue authority's senior managers and Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.

"Working with other stakeholders we have been able to seize goods from 56 offenders and impounded 22 motor vehicles between April and May at undesignated entry points along the Limpopo River," said Mr Chikuni.

"In addition, smuggling activities through the border post are surging because of the increased traffic. Between March and May we recorded 81 seizures including 21 commercial trucks and trailers. We are now looking at increased automation of most processes and concentration of staff to control the high-risk cargo to minimize smuggling through the main port of entry."

Mr Chikuni said he believed that if they deploy more human and material resources to man or patrol undesignated entry points, they can reduce criminal activities at undesignated crossing point along the Limpopo river.

He said the border has become a Covid-19 hotspot in the country considering current infection figures and risks associated with the interface between various Government agencies and stakeholders operating within and outside of the border.

Mr Chikuni said they were working with stakeholders among them health officials to minimise risks of new infections.

"To speed up traffic movement we have introduced; mandatory pre- arrival clearance of all cargo – enforcement; use of risk management in the processing of the cargo – in place of 100% intervention. We also recommend the use of the pre-clearance facilities – online communication and clearances of groceries that come as consolidated (Omalaitsha)," he said.

"Additionally, we opened up more release lanes through the use of private vehicles/bus lane for low risk commercial cargo including Government maize and so far, 123,280,733 kgs have been imported in 3500 trucks since the beginning of the year. More importantly we are liaising and coordinating with other stakeholders on both the South African and Zimbabwean components of the border to address challenges as and when they arise."

Source - chronicle

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