ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Gershem Pasi yesterday said the recently introduced pre-shipment inspection of imports was not beneficial to the country, adding that they were not consulted when the government adopted the system.
BY RUTH NGWENYA/ BATANAI MUTASA
The government has engaged Bureau Veritas, a French-based company, to carry out pre-shipment inspection of imports and reports say the company is already operating at the country’s entry points.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing African Tax Administration Forums (Ataf) conference in Victoria Falls on Tuesday, Pasi said the tax authority was not consulted before the pre-inspection of imports policy was adopted.
He said the tax authority would have advised otherwise because it had previously tested the system and abandoned it since benefits to the country were not evident.
“It’s a government policy which has been taken and we accept any government policy put in place, but if we had been asked before, we would have advised otherwise because we have used it before and the benefits were not visible,” Pasi said.
Pasi bemoaned lack of synergy between government ministries indicating the Industry and Commerce ministry had signed an agreement which was not in accord with Zimra, which is under the Finance ministry.
“The problem is there was no dialogue when it was adopted,” he said.
“It was done by one ministry and has now been handed over to another. I believe it was the Industry and Commerce ministry which went back into an arrangement with the French company to do pre-shipment inspection which unfortunately is now on my desk and I have to implement it because they are at the border posts.”
Pasi said he only received a letter from the Finance ministry on Monday authorising him to implement the system and Zimra was working to adopt it without causing delays at the borders.
Speaking on the current delays at the country’s entry points, Pasi explained that Zimra made a mistake by not advising the public in time about the ongoing system upgrade taking place at borders.
“I have advised my team that we need to move with the public and inform them in future,” Pasi said.
The Ataf conference is being held under the theme ICT in Tax Administration Leadership.
It has delegates from African revenue authorities and will be ending today.