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Zimra fails to conduct rummage sales

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2021 at 06:39hrs | Views
THE Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected operations at Beitbridge Border Post, with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) yesterday saying that it has run out of storage space at all its State warehouses.

The tax collector is having challenges disposing of an assortment of goods that have been accumulating at the country's busiest inland port because it has not been able to conduct rummage sales (auctions) under the obtaining environment.

The State warehouses have reportedly been filling up since March last year and the revenue collector has been forced to rent more facilities from private players. The bulk of goods which are worth millions of dollars were confiscated from exporters/importers who violate the country's customs laws.

Zimra spokesman Mr Francis Chimanda said they stopped conducting rummage sales in March last year, to observe the ongoing Covid-19 management protocols. By their nature auctions are potential super-spreaders of Covid-19 considering that they are usually attended by scores of people.

"The authority is facing challenges in conducting rummage sales for goods that have overstayed in State warehouses. However, arrangements are being put in place to assist in the disposal of overstayed goods. The bulk of the detained goods in warehouses include motor vehicles, controlled goods such as used household furniture, groceries, and used clothing," said Mr Chimanda.

Rummage sales are ordinarily conducted on a quarterly basis and the sale dates are promulgated in a Statutory Instrument. It is also understood that the situation at the border has been compounded by the shortage of warehouses, with at least three having been burnt under unclear circumstances in the last five years. It is envisaged that things would improve after two years upon completion of the US$300 million modernisation project.

More freight terminals and State warehouses are set for construction under the project. Mr Chimanda said that the tax collector had tightened screws against smuggling which has seen the authority netting a total of $13 million and about US$120 000 in extra import duties from smugglers in the last 30 days. He said between January 5 and February 5 this year they made 47 seizures (confiscation of goods) as compared to 22 within the same period last year.

"Between January 5 and February 5 last year we recovered duties amounting to RTGS$105,664.49 after making 22 seizures and this year during the same period we collected a total of RTGS$13,893,920.20 and US$119,236.21 from 47 seizures," said Mr Chimanda.

He said the bulk of the goods being smuggled between Zimbabwe and South Africa include various groceries, beers, and other alcoholic beverages, chicken cuts, used tyres, various meats, fruits, and building material.

Zimra has also introduced the 100 percent search initiative on all cargo mostly being carried in light commercial trucks with a carrying capacity of between 15 tonnes and 20 tonnes. This followed an upsurge in a trend of false declarations by either the transporters or the importers.

Source - chronicle

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