Zitma secures $5m to train Zimra officials

THE Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association (Zitma) has secured $5 million to train Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials in identifying fabrics at the country’s ports of entry, amid claims the taxmen were incapacitated to differentiate them.
In an interview with NewsDay, Zitma secretary-general, Raymond Huni said they have approached the Finance ministry and Zimra over the matter.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

“We have approached the ministry of Finance and Zimra, saying if we could train you in identifying fabrics, because as we speak, the government is losing thousands of dollars, if not millions. Because people will connive with agencies, placing wrong tariff codes which they know attracts very little duty, at the expense of revenue in the country,” he said.

Chinese businesspeople are reportedly repackaging and selling blankets, which they claim to have been manufactured locally, when in fact they come into the country as finished products.

The blankets are being fraudulently declared as woven long pile fabric, which attracts a duty of only 10%.

Blankets attract a duty of 40% and an additional $2,50 per kg.

Huni said they held a meeting with Zimra board chairperson, Willia Bonyongwe and she assured them that those meetings could take place but “we are still waiting to hear from Zimra when they want that meeting to take place”.

“We are prepared to sponsor Zimra in identifying (fabrics) because what we have seen is, as much as we can talk and as long as Zimra cannot identify that this is 100% polyester, this is 100% cotton, this is silk, this is nylon, we are going nowhere,” he said.

“So we are prepared and we have secured funds to train Zimra officials and in addition, we have even asked if Zimra could
accommodate our own technical people to work with them at the borders in identifying fabric for easy reference to Zimra and we are still waiting for a response from Zimra.”

Huni said the funds were secured through the European Union, but were yet to be released, as Zimra was yet to give them a date for the training workshop.

“It’s $5 million, but they said we will only release that money once you have given us a programme and all the material that you do require for that training for the Zimra officials.

“Because, while they were giving us that $5 million, they were targeting that every seminar we do with Zimra must last us at least 14 days for the basic identification of fabrics, because if you go into the tariff code book, the wording in the tariff code book does not really talk of a particular fabric. It’s a blanket whole thing,” he said.

Reached for comment, Bonyongwe said she would consult with Zimra management over the matter and report back. However, she had not yet done so by the time of going to Press.

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