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Zimbabwe Announces New Policy To Combat Smuggling

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – In an effort to prevent smuggling that is rampant at the country’s borders, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has come up with a deliberate policy that seeks to compel all importers especially of vehicles to clear them in advance.

Zimbabwe has been losing millions of dollars to smuggling that is exacerbated by porous border posts and corrupt revenue officers.

The major ports of entry are Beitbridge on the border with South Africa which is arguably the busiest inland port in Southern Africa, Chirundu and Victoria Falls bordering with Zambia, Plumtree border and Kazungula leading into Botswana and Forbes into Mozambique.

Because of the failing economy, Zimbabweans import various goods including second hand clothes, electrical goods, groceries and second hand vehicles.

The ports are usually filled to capacity by goods including vehicles which are kept at the border before the owners can pay import duty.

In a public notice 72 of 2020 released Monday, Zimra said the new policy is effective November 1, 2020 and failure to clear in advance is a chargeable offence.

“With effect from November 1, 2020, importers are advised that goods imported by road into Zimbabwe must be pre-cleared before their arrival. All privately imported motor vehicles driven or transported by car carriers must be pre-cleared before they are dispatched to Zimbabwe,” said Zimra said in a statement.

Importers are expected to provide online the scanned copies of invoices, bill of lading, export documents, proof of payment, freight statement, copy of passport, police clearance, letter of rebate, relating to importation to officers so they calculate and advise them of the customs duty payable.

Where a rebate applies the importers will be advised

“Motor vehicles can only be loaded onto carriers or driven into the country where the relevant processes have been completed including payment of duties where applicable. Failure to pre-clear the vehicle, and or providing false information on documents is an offence,” said the revenue authority.

Clearance details must be sent to the carriers, who have been notified of the new policy, to enable them to load vehicles.

All imported vehicles will be subjected to compliance checks before the customs clearance certificate is processed and issued.

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