By Rex Mphisa
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on Tuesday suspended the processing of returning residents immigrants rebate on vehicles until further notice citing possible exposure of its staff to COVID-19.
This follows Zimra workers at the Robert Mugabe International Airport threatening to down tools over management’s failure to conduct tests for the tax agency’s workers who were exposed to the late Zororo Makamba.
Makamba died on Monday at Wilkins Hospital, becoming the first confirmed fatality of the coronavirus that has claimed over 20 000 people globally and infected more than 424 000. He interacted with some Zimra workers at the airport upon his return from New York on March 9.
“Please be advised that with effect from today, March 24 2020, the clearance of immigrants (rebate on vehicles) has been suspended forthwith in line with the precautions stipulated by government,” read part of the notice broadcasted through shipping agents.
“All immigrants should approach Zimra for clearance not earlier than 21 days after their time of arrival with certification from a medical institution that they have been cleared of infection.”
Vehicles imported by immigrants will be placed on RIH (Items Held) pending clearance by owners.
Rebates on vehicles involve personal interviews which would increase the risk of exposure for the officers.
In two similar notices, Zimra also increased the distance between its officers and the public at its motor traffic section which deals with the public and the commercial section that deals with clearing agencies.
It said minimal dealing time will be observed in line with government regulations.
“Please be advised that with effect from today, March 24, all incoming and outgoing travellers shall be cleared through this point with minimal delay in line with the precautions stipulated by government.
“To that end, you are all required to tender correct declarations for processing including the payment of any duties, taxes and charges due,” said Zimra in another notice.
It said clearance procedures have been simplified in line with these precautions until further notice.
Physical examinations of goods in the commercial section have also been suspended.
“All physical examinations have been suspended and any system initiated PEs will be waived by default until further notice.
All permits and schedules required for mark off should now be submitted to and retained by Zimra in clearly marked and secure folders,” said Zimra in its third communique.
“Please be advised that with effect from today, March 24, 2020, Zimra Beitbridge will no longer allow physical access to reception, documents check and queries, including the queries window on the exit side and manifest control window on the entry side in line with the precautions stipulated by government.
“All doc check and queries issues, including formal correspondence should be dealt with in the system and/or by way of email or telephone with the appropriate responses in the same way.”
It, however, said all calculated duties, taxes, other charges and fines levied remain payable.
“The foregoing dispensations do not preclude the need for future audits or review of all or any declarations selected for such future enforcement activities, including the physical examination of any available goods subject matter of such declarations.
“It is, therefore, peremptory that all declarations be correct in all respects and that any supporting documents attached be correct, valid and relevant to the declaration.
The provisions of the various acts administered by Zimra will remain enforceable in the event of breach or in support of dispute resolutions and appeals.”
It said the requirements are without exception until further notice.