Entry into cargo in transit declined by 62 percent since Government introduced the electronic cargo tracking system in a bid to curb smuggling and transit fraud of goods at border posts. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa officially commissioned the country's first anti-smuggling, transit fraud detection and curbing electronic system on May 15, 2017 in Harare.
Government estimates that revenue collector, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, collects 30 percent of Government revenue from ports of entry with 70 percent of that is collected at Beitbridge border post.
The electronic cargo tracking system is controlled from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority's command centre control room and has robust reaction teams, the Office of the President and Cabinet said.
The system has been fully operational since January 2, 2017 and covers 18 transit routes, geo-fenced, under real time monitoring and tracking from the national revenue collector's command centre.
As part of the measures to detect and curtail smuggling, e-sealing of fuel in transit has been introduced and containerised cargo and e-sealing of break bulk cargo using modern electronic sealing gadgets.
Since the tracking system was introduced, deliveries from suppliers have constantly been on time and that has seen project move on time.
"Initial indications are that the system is curbing smuggling and transit fraud as there has been a marked drop in transit figures since smugglers of goods were presenting their goods as being in transit when they were for local consumption," the OPC said last week.
The fuel excise duty for the first three months (excluding paraffin) also rose up indicating return on investment on the system at record short time. As a result of the more stringent requirements on the figuration of tankers, there has been a marked reduction of fuel trucks coming through Zimbabwe on the pretext of being in transit.
The initial thrust of the project implemented under the OPC's 100 Day Rapid Results Initiative, to facilitate speedier process to the national ease of doing business reform programme, was to cover the top 10 high risk products with fuel designated as the most important.
As such, cargo tracking system will continue to be rolled out to cover all border posts in order to have seamless coverage at all designated border posts and also cover all cargo declared as transit.
The OPC said the electronic cargo tracking has now covered the e-sealing of the break bulk cargo covered by tarpaulin tents, which constitute the majority of the transit trucks. This is going to see increased compliance, reduction in smuggling and revenue increase.
Legislative changes to provide for the new e-cargo tracking have been made and only await gazetting. It specifies the types of containers allowed, and requires that cargo coming into the country without the stipulated containers to be charged. The charge is a deposit equivalent to the duty of the cargo carried using the containers.
The OPC said the deposit would only be refunded upon adequate proof exit of the cargo from Zimbabwe's territory. The legislative changes also spell out the penalties for any seal tempering, geo-fencing violations and other ECTS offences committed by transporters.