The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zimra Set to Benefit From UN Assistance

Harare — THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is set to benefit from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development programme, which aims to fully automate customs processing at border posts using Internet communication.

The development comes in the wake of an agreement entered into between Unctad and the Ministry of Finance through Zimra in May.

Under the agreement, Unctad will provide technical services and other resources for the implementation of its latest Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) management system.

The project attempts to sufficiently automate customs processing at all customs offices and border posts and checkpoints in Zimbabwe using Internet communication when possible.

Speaking to the Herald Business yesterday, a Zimra official who preferred anonymity said the programme would fully encompass the customs clearance process and to promote inter-agency and regional co-operation.

"This full automation of customs operations will bring more efficient clearance of cargo in as much as it will improve revenue control and assist in the generation of accurate customs data for statistical purposes," said the official.

ASYCUDA is a computerised customs management system that handles manifests, customs declarations, transit and suspense procedures and it also generates trade data that can be used for statistical economic analysis.

The system also provides electronic data interchange between traders and customs.

Zimra is currently operating the main modules of ASYCUDA, which are declaration processing, cash payment and pre-payment and direct trader input.

ASYCUDA was embraced in Zimbabwe in 1989 when the then Department of Customs and Excise successfully implemented ASYCUDA V2,7 and migrated to ASYCUDA in 1999, a migration that was necessitated by the need to be Y2K compliant.

The system went live at the Harare port in January 2001 and was subsequently rolled out to 15 stations.

The revenue authority is also currently in the process of introducing scanners for both luggage and container inspection at its border posts and airports to facilitate fast clearance at service points.

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