Chinese dribble govt on blanket imports

BLANKET smuggling is on the rise, with Chinese importers listing blankets as quilting kits, to pay a lower duty at the country’s ports of entry.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

A Waverley Blanket employee preparing wool for blankets during a tour of the factory in Graniteside, Harare yesterday
A Waverley Blanket employee preparing wool for blankets during a tour of the factory in Graniteside, Harare yesterday

According to documents provided to NewsDay from a source yesterday, a number of Chinese companies have resorted to this modus operandi to pay a lower duty, as it has a different tax code.

Statutory Instrument 19 of 2016 removed blankets from the open import licence and requires importers to have permits.

As such, these come with a tax code requiring importers to pay 40% of value imported, $2,50 per kilogramme and 15% value-added tax (VAT), which are measures to deter blanket imports.

Since the goods are listed as quilting kits, Chinese blanket importers pay 10% of the value imported, $1,45 per kilogramme and VAT of 10%.

Due to this loophole, Chinese blanket importers are bringing these blankets in 44-foot trailers, which should cost a duty of about $70 000 considering weight, but are paying between $4 000 and $6 000 instead.

Quilting kits are listed in the base form of the blankets that is fabric, compressed fibre, and sewing thread. NewsDay was shown a sample by a source, which is basically a semi-finished blanket that only needs stitching to be completed.

The source said this also implied the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) border officials were complicit in the smuggling, since they were allowing blankets to pass through as quilting kits despite being noticeably the former.

“They do not declare the right commodity, price, quantity and pay between $4 500 and $5 000 for goods in a 44 foot container costing millions in revenue,” the source said.

In one of the documents, there is a letter from Zimra to one of the Chinese companies, Redbart Enterprises, raising questions over the company’s import practices from January 2011 to October 31, 2016 concerning the quantity and value of their imports during this period.
Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha confirmed yesterday there were loopholes in blanket importing.

“I find it difficult that we continue to import blankets. I think that it is something that we have the capacity to do (produce) ourselves. I also think there are a lot of loopholes and that we can do better. Importing for the sake of importing is not something that we want as a ministry. We want to support our local industry,” he said during a tour of Waverley Blanket factory. Bimha was accompanied by legislators from the parliamentary portfolio committee on Industry and ministry officials.

He promised to step up efforts to improve border technologies to curb smuggling.

Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers Association secretary general Raymond Huni said the association’s investigations unearthed the smuggling. The investigations were called for by blanket manufacturers.

“We conduct yearly reviews on all the textile companies in the country to review their capacity. In the second week of March till the second week of April (last week) we discovered the practice of underwriting (under declaring) the value of blankets by blanket importers was being done,” he said adding that the association has since engaged the ministry of Industry and Commerce.

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11 Comments

  1. Ndonyaya yaitaurwa naMaridadi kaiyi.Tikudyiwa takasvinura sematemba cdes. Vanhu ava havatide vanoda kutora Mari yedu chete.Ndivo vakukonzera cash crisis muno. Ikozvino takubhadhara fees nembudzi.

  2. tendai chaminuka

    Secretary General Huni why is it that some of your partners are refusing to accept plastic money but only cash in their dealings.Is this not tantamount to hording of cash.I hope RBZ looks at their daily bankings.Example is one operator located close to Sunningdale. Saka before we investigate others why not look at our dealings first.The greatest challenge we have at the present moment is cash shortage which is actually discrediting the government so lets concentrate our efforts in easing this critical issue.A revolution is not a kitchen party and there should be no sacred cows.Lets all conform to the dictates of the fundamentals put in place in order to improve our situation

    1. That part i agree, Tendai, but honestly we are in this mess because of the dealings such as the chinese, who smuggle and underdeclare imports, and smuggle the cash out again. I say lets deal with foreigners first then we deal with our own kinsmen tapedza vauyi ava.

      1. tendai chaminuka

        @Mukaranga we can not start our own Boxer Revolution coz its not necessary.An evil is an evil whether done by foreigners or us.Why should locals refuse the use of plastic money when we are in such a dire situation.Who then is patriotic here and who can claim that Zimbabwe is mine when you fail to adhere to the dictates of the Reserve Bank which are aimed at easing the cash crisis.Macdes itai mushe

        1. Ignatious Chombora

          anenge asingaide ka. zvinomanikidzwa here? which law says everyone must use plastic money?

  3. Chitanda chehuni chiri muziso maVaHuni ndoochikuru.

  4. l think for all those causing cash shortage “keep it up.” lm unemployed I don’t get paid thru the financial institutions. The war vets and civil servnts go to heal with ur secure cash flow. Its time for u to join the common goal.

  5. tendai chaminuka

    @Chombora ndimi vanhu vanoti mhuri iri kubatanidza mari yekurapisa baba vave padeath bed and you refuse to contribute because your wife has a business trip yekunotenga mabhero kuMozambique.

    1. Ignatious Chombora

      iwe kana munhu asingadi haadi hake zve.we unayo here POS?

  6. Apa machinenese havadi ma swipe machine cause vanoda liquid cash to smuggle out.

  7. zvino zvatikungobhadhara nebond vachasmuggla bond here uuu they r doomed

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