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Smuggling distressing business

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INDUSTRY in Zimbabwe is deeply concerned about rampant smuggling of various goods into the country despite the existence of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and law enforcement agents at the country’s ports of entry, NewsDay has established.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Zimra should tighten our porous borders
Zimra should tighten our porous borders

Zimra, which derives its mandate from the Revenue Authority Act [Chapter 23:11] and other subsidiary legislation to assess, collect and account for revenue on behalf of the State through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, should also guard against smuggling of goods into the country.

The government has also introduced various measures including Statutory Instruments (SIs) 18, 19, 20 and 64 in a bid to curtail the importation of products that can be produced locally.

However, despite all these efforts and authority vested on Zimra, smuggling of goods continues unabated leading industry to cry foul.

“We remain concerned that smuggling continues for various goods, which ordinarily would require permits, and the prices at which goods are being sold clearly shows that duty is not being paid,” Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Busisa Moyo, said.

“These products often end up on the shelves of large retailers and wholesalers … I believe our import management efforts will need to be complemented with border management and control so that we don’t remain without jobs and continue to direct scarce foreign currency to our colossal $6 billon import bill by bringing in cheap trinkets and other unnecessary products.”

Recently, Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association secretary-general, Raymond Huni rapped Zimra for failing to enforce restrictions gazetted by government to protect the industry from an influx of cheap imports.

He said as a result of Zimra’s inaction, the sector suffered tremendously due to cheap imports.

Also to cry foul were cement producers.

PPC Zimbabwe managing director Kelibone Masiyane revealed that cheap cement imports continued to flood the local market despite government having introduced a 25% duty on every 100 tonnes of imported cement, to discourage cheap imports.

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