False declarations causing congestion at Beitbridge border

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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) yesterday said people are falsifying declarations at the Beitbridge Border Post resulting in serious congestion as authorities are resorting to physical searches.

In a statement last night, Zimra said they had introduced pre-clearance and pre-payment facilities at the border for fast clearance of consolidated trucks (omalayithsa) to facilitate importation of food and essential imports by private individuals.

“This facility has always been available for commercial imports. However, random spot-checks and physical inspections have shown that the quantities, price points of imported materials have been falsely declared, defeating the purpose of pre-payment and pre-clearance, which is intended to ensure smooth clearance and facilitation of movement of people and goods. This has forced Zimra to enforce the law by searching all these trucks.

“The huge number of false declarations as shown by the amount of revenue recoveries from each truck has resulted in 100 percent physical checks.

“There are huge amounts of revenue leakages at stake, for instance — as of today, the 10th of September 2020, 159 searches have been conducted with revenue recovered amounting to $6,1 million,” Zimra said in the statement.

Zimra added that the Beitbridge border used to clear about 80 buses per day before the Covid-19 outbreak, however,  former bus operators have now joined the omalayitsha and have replaced the buses with rigid trucks.

“The goods in question are mostly groceries — cooking oil, bath soaps, washing powder, flour, etc. The selling price of these goods in South Africa is well known and so false declarations are easy to find out.

“We have designated more search points and increased our staff numbers and will continue to monitor the situation. Zimra continues to consider both our staff and clients in the discharge of our duties,” the authority added.

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