THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and South Africa Revenue Services (Sars) have agreed to cooperate on the facilitation of a seamless movement of goods at Beitbridge, Africa’s largest inland port, following a high-level meeting held last week.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Zimra Commissioner-General Faith Mazani met with her counterpart in South Africa last week and discussed issues related to anticorruption, Business Process Reengineering (Commonly called the Border Efficiency Management System or BEMS) and ICT connectivity between the SARS and Zimra systems.
Held on the last day of a three-day consultative meeting between the two revenue authorities, the consultations were part of a process to operationalise the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) and the Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement (MAAA) already in force between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“Indeed, there was a three-day bilateral meeting between Zimra and Sars which discussed the following issues; business process re-engineering (commonly called the Border Efficiency Management System or BEMS), ICT connectivity issues to link the Sars system to Zimra system so as to facilitate seamless movement of goods at Beitbridge and how to increase cooperation between Zimra and Sars,” Zimra assistant director of corporate affairs and communications Taungana Ndoro said in emailed responses to NewsDay.
“The meeting also discussed the possibility of an anti-corruption pledge not only between the two revenue authorities, but also between the revenue authorities and other stakeholders at the border post.”
Shipping agents, transporters and their employees as well as line support stakeholders, who are often accused of facilitating smuggling and causing delays in the movement of goods, are required to make the anti-corruption pledge.
The online link will displace shipping agents by scrapping the “hand-posting” of documents or bills of entries (the technical term for commercial declaration form) from either side of Beitbridge.
Some unscrupulous shipping agents have been accused of forging or recreating invoices and other documents or understating the value of goods for duty assessment purposes, prejudicing revenue authorities.
It is alleged that agents who misrepresented duty assessment documents would still collect full duty from their clients.
Ndoro said subcommittees on ICT and BEMS would be commencing work soon.
“Two sub-committees on ICT and on BEMS are to be reconstituted and to start work as soon as possible,” said Ndoro.
“Connectivity linking the Sars system to Zimra system will facilitate the seamless movement of goods at Beitbridge.
“There will also be increased cooperation between Zimra and Sars. The anti-corruption pledge, if successful, will help fight corruption at the border post.”