The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zimra Introduces Solar Powered Systems

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority last week launched a solar system power supply at Nyamapanda Border Post to alleviate power shortages that delay customs clearance.

It is the first solar system power supply of its kind to be installed in the country. The system consists of 125 solar panels and an inverter with a capacity to produce 20KW.

Through the installation of the power system, the border post would generate 50KW per hour of energy everyday if the weather conditions are favourable.

This enables the system to sustain 31 computers, 22 connected to the commercial office and nine to the motor traffic section.

Speaking during the ceremony Zimra Commissioner General Mr Gershem Pasi said they had decided to launch the solar system power alternative at Nyamapanda because it was the most affected by power outages.

"The climate is favourable here in Nyamapanda where on average we enjoy eight hours of sunshine a day. Plans are underway for the Plumtree border to follow suit.

"We realised that plans to install the solar system at Beitbridge were moving slowly and we decided to split the equipment between Nyamapanda and Plumtree borders," said Comm Gen Pasi.

He said the solar system would provide energy for lighting, computers, printers and essential services including perimeter lighting at the commercial office.

"Zimra is honoured to harness what the environment can provide for us and we want to mark this day as the day Zimra goes green," he said.

Comm Gen Pasi said the system would take over the fall back plan from generators.

"In September 2009, we commissioned a powerful generator as a back up, but it consumed 200 litres of fuel everyday which means US$100 000 per year goes to the fuel without mentioning maintenance.

"Now with the increased environmental consciousness and congested cross borders we decided to make use of nature to curb the erratic power supplies here in Nyamapanda," he said.

He said the installation of solar system would spread to all other Zimra border stations.

He added that the system would enable them to quicken clearance procedures.

"As a revenue administrator and a member of the World Customs Organisation we continue to be guided by the WCO theme which states 'Borders divide; Customs connect'.

"We are making sure that we stay online, improve facilitation of trade and ensure that ultimately we stay connected," he said.

He said Zimra was in the process of digitalising border posts to improve the "single window" system of managing all operations under one roof.

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