Delays at border posts have seen Bulawayo companies accusing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) of being an impediment to exports growth, as they say this has seen them losing business worth millions of dollars due to bottlenecks at the country’s ports of entry.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at a ZimTrade-Zimra stakeholder engagement seminar in Bulawayo last week, businesses accused the tax collector of frustrating their efforts to bring in forex into the country through exports.
“There are frequent delays that we are encountering at our borders because of the Asycuda system being down especially in the last quarter of 2017.
“Nimr Chapman actually lost two orders in that quarter worth $1 million because the truck carrying raw materials was stuck at the border for nine days and at that time there was a customer in South Africa,” Nimr and Chapman official, Johanna Gwisai, said.
Asycuda World is a customs system that allows Zimra clients to submit their customs documents to the tax collector from anywhere in the world.
An official from EcoMed Manufacturing said delays at border posts cost them big businesses.
“Our major problem is the delays at both Beitbridge (border post) and Bulawayo. At Beitbridge, it takes very long for entries to be processed,” she said.
“We import chemicals and with these delays at Beitbridge, maybe two to three weeks, our trucks are not moving and these chemicals will almost be boiling, but they will not allow you to proceed to Bulawayo and be cleared in Bulawayo, maybe by escort like what’s done in Mozambique.
“We cannot return those chemicals and say they have failed the test because Beitbridge is very hot.
“Because of these delays, we have lost business.”
A Scandia Steel and Wire official accused Zimra of frustrating government’s efforts to revive the economy.
“There was a truck that was coming with our raw materials from South Africa, which we were supposed to use produce an order in seven days and send it back to South Africa.
“At the border, they were told the system was down, as such they couldn’t clear it,” she said.
She said due to system inefficiencies at border posts, they could not send their orders back to South Africa.
“This is not the only order we have lost,” she said.
“We have got the other orders we have lost due to the same problem.
“My question is, we are open for business, that’s what we are saying as government and you Zimra officers are just messengers.
“Why are we contradicting ourselves, we are open for business, but at the same time blocking it?”
Zimra officials admitted the challenges and promised to work on them.
They also urged captains of industry to seek recourse from higher offices if they encounter challenges with junior officers.