The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority said it is not feasible to search all containers that pass through border posts, a situation which has led to continued existence of products banned under statutory instrument 64 of 2016 in the local market.
This came after the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu had raised concerns over the continued selling of smuggled goods by informal traders.
Mr Mutashu said it was worrisome that the street pavements and other tuck shops downtown were awash with banned products rendering formal retailers uncompetitive,
“It is sad that despite control measures introduced by Government, we have continued to see banned products being sold by informal traders especially in the streets and tuck shops.
“Such a situation has become a huge challenges for retailers who are now exposed to competing with such products which themselves are not allowed to import,” said Mr Mutashu.
ZIMRA regional manager Innocent Chikuni yesterday however confirmed that the revenue authority does not do physical searches on all containers and trucks which pass through the country’s borders.
This comes after the local manufacturing industry had raised concerns over continued smuggling of products which were put under SI64.
The statutory instrument introduced in July this year removed about 42 products from the general import licence.
“For ZIMRA to do physical searches on all containers and trucks which passes through the boarder is not feasible. This is a situation that has led to the continued existence of some products which were put under SI64.
“We are however appealing to manufacturers to assist us in identifying suspicious containers goods and containers. Just recently we ceased a container full of boxes of camphor cream at the boarder, and that is a clear indication that the smuggling of some products has been going on unnoticed,” said Mr Chikuni.
He added that physical search of all containers and a truck at the board has not been feasible due to the fact that manufactures have been crying foul over delays at the border.
Local manufacturing firms have been hemorrhaging from costs incurred from delays at the country’s borders, which they blame on ZIMRA.
According to industry sources, delays were being caused by the revenue collector’s centralized declaration system under which bill of entry documents are no longer processed at border posts.
Mr Chikuni said such a situation where companies have been complaining of the delays at the border post further made the physical search of all containers difficult.