Mthuli maintains $400b target for Zimra

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Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube during a tour of Zimra's Asycuda Services

Herzel Mushayabasa/Eddison Mapani/Sharon Chikwanha

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has challenged the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to raise at least $400b through its various activities including improved electronic cargo tracking system.

To support this, the country will speed up the process of buying drones worth US$2 million to be used at all ports of entry to reduce smuggling, while plans are at an advanced stage to place a CCTV camera system at border posts.

Speaking after visiting the Zimra Electronic Cargo Tracking System Command Centre in Harare, Minister Ncube said there was need to domesticate the system to augment Zimbabwe’s efforts to expand its transit economy.

Zimbabwe, in a bid to become the transit hub of the SADC region, is establishing various dry ports across the country.

“The whole idea of creating a stronger transit economy is critical,” he said.

Zimra is enforcing controls to avoid importation of restricted or prohibited goods through the ECTS and Minister Ncube called for the domestication of the system so that Zimbabwe could improve on the imported system.

According to ZIMRA, the revenue authority sealed, in 2020, 35 076 trucks while receipting US$1 083 302.88 in sealing fees while the total revenue from fines stood at US$216,900.00.

Electronic seals are affixed to cargo containers, box trucks, soft sided trucks, tankers, and break bulk.

These send regular signals to the control room to show the location of the cargo.

The electronic seal connects to the internet and the control room is manned 24 hours a day and relays information of violations to the reaction teams.

On sealing of a truck the driver is required to select a dedicated geo-fenced route to the exit port which is captured in the system.

Any diversion from these routes or entry into a restricted zone constitutes a geo fence violation which attracts a US$2 000 fine.

Other violations include unauthorized opening of the seal, tampering with the SIM cards, losing and/or damaging the seal.

Reaction Teams may immediately be dispatched or action taken at exit point, depending on nature of violation.

ZIMRA is expected to  submit  position  papers  to  ensure  the  system  which  was imported will be produced locally in partnership with other domestic players who will be required to benchmark  against international best practice and to get international accreditation.

The ECTS that ZIMRA uses was imported from Malaysia.

ZIMRA is expected to procure drones worth an estimated US$2m that will be used at all ports of entry to reduce smuggling and underhand deals.

“Plans are also at an advanced stage to place a CCTV camera system at border posts and strategic areas.

The CCTV system will be linked to a loss control command centre at ZIMRA head office that will have sight of the footage live feed from the border post,” Zimra said in a statement.

The system is expected to be procured and installed from funding in the 2021 budget.

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