HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe has amended customs regulations in a bid
to improve the management of transit cargo, with heavy fines
being imposed on people who flout the transportation procedures.
In a statement
Thursday, revenue collector, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA),
said Section 60 of the Customs and Excise (General) Regulations
published in 2001 had now been amended under Statutory
Instrument 113 of 2017 to provide better management and
monitoring of transit cargo.
According to the new
legislation, containers and vehicles conveying goods through
Zimbabwe shall not be opened while in the country and any seals
or electronic seals which are found or placed on the containers
and vehicles shall not be broken or tampered with.
“Where seals are
tampered with, lost or there is unauthorized breaking of
electronic seals placed on a road vehicle, the offender shall be
liable to a penalty of 1,300 U.S. dollars,” the statement said.
also be liable to a penalty of 2,000 dollars for diversion from
the route specified by the Commissioner General of ZIMRA.
ZIMRA started using
the new system on Jan. 2, 2017 prior to it being commissioned by
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa in
May under the theme: “curbing smuggling and transit fraud”.
The Electronic Cargo
Tracking System involves the use of electronic sealing devices,
which are put on transit cargo at the port of entry.
It uses geo-fencing
technology and is supported by Google Maps to ensure the
accuracy of location and movement of transit cargo, as the cargo
is monitored in real time up to the point of exit.
sealing devices send an alarm to the system’s control room on
any violations, which include seal tampering, seal opening and
incidents of geo-fence violations.
Zimbabwe is a
transit hub, catering for northbound and southbound transit
traffic through its ports of entry and exit. The country is a
gateway to East and Southern African countries and serves
Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania,
among other countries.
The Office of the
President and Cabinet has said transit cargo entries had
declined by more than 60 percent by June as the country
tightened its screws on transit fraud.
Prior to the new
system, some transporters would enter the country purporting to
be delivering goods to other countries but would dump them in
In some cases, fuel
would be dumped in the country and the tankers would proceed to
the border laden with water.
ZIMRA also said the
transit period of three days for cargo would include weekends
and public holidays.
Zimbabwe crafting law to deter
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Wednesday
the Zimbabwean government is crafting legislation to enable jail
sentences to be imposed on individuals caught selling cash at a
premium to desperate people, state-run news agency New Ziana
Zimbabwe is battling
a cash crisis mainly caused by hoarding and externalization of
the main trading and circulating currency, the U.S. dollar.
The cash shortage
has resulted in the re-emergence of the black market for foreign
Dealers on the
parallel market buy U.S. dollars at a premium of up to 30
percent for bank transfers.
On a cash-to-cash
exchange basis, 100 U.S. dollars earns the seller 108 bond
notes, despite the fact that the U.S. dollar and the surrogate
currency officially trade at par.
The central bank
introduced bond notes last year to try and alleviate the cash
While speaking in
parliament, Chinamasa said the Banking Act only allows the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to impose penalties on offenders,
which he deemed not sufficient to deter would-be offenders.
“At the moment, we
do not have a law that sends offenders to jail, we only have one
that says offenders are penalized.
“We agreed in
cabinet that we should have that law in place. We are now
drafting the amendments because at the moment the law that we
have under the Banking Act allows the RBZ to impose penalties on
offenders,” Chinamasa said.
Prices of basic commodities
shoot up as forex shortages persist in Zimbabwe
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Prices of basic commodities are rising steadily
in the shops as foreign currency shortages persist and suppliers
are forced to get the elusive U.S. dollar from the black market
at high premiums.
A middle level
manager with one of the country’s leading retail chains told
Xinhua Wednesday that suppliers were increasing their prices
citing higher costs in obtaining especially foreign goods.
“The suppliers are
paying premiums to keep the supply chain open and they have no
choice but to pass on the cost to us. We, in turn, try to
maintain a 10 percent profit margin on the supplied goods, hence
we also do mark ups on their prices,” he said.
Machadu said the U.S. dollar supply continued to be erratic
through various leakages such as rising net imports, smuggling
and as a result of people holding it for speculative purposes.
Machadu said the
shortage of foreign currency had led to the proliferation of a
thriving black market where the U.S. dollar was being rationed
at high premiums.
importers of finished goods and raw materials have been left
with no option but to get the greenback on the parallel market.
It’s do or die for local companies, otherwise they go bust if
they don’t get adequate forex to manage their operations,” he
Zimbabwe Retailers marketing and stakeholder relations director
Alois Burutsa told The Herald Business that his organization
believed that the prices were going up because some retailers
were acquiring foreign currency from the black market.
The organization had
since requested for foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ), he said.
“The RBZ has asked
us to compile our forex requirements and we are still in that
process although we have submitted some requests for forex,” he
Chitiyo said he had watched the prices going up and was
adjusting his budget and re-prioritizing goods to purchase for
“I am doing away
with certain luxuries such as breakfast cereals. My family is
till comfortable having maize porridge and peanut butter,” he
Machadu said many
people now preferred saving their U.S. dollars cash at home to
depositing it with their banks.
“Keeping it in the
bank while the premiums of getting it out are rising means that
they will lose out. So the participation of members of the
public in purchasing U.S. dollars and holding them as a reliable
store of value is also contributing to the high demand for the
greenback that is also causing more shortages and rising
premiums,” Machadu said.
He said a
sustainable solution lay in managing excessive government
expenditure and rising imports and increasing surveillance on
the borders to avert smuggling of goods.
“The country is
still importing things that we have in abundance; for instance
maize worth 101 million dollars was imported between January and
July, yet there is plenty of maize locally. So there should be
enhanced scrutiny on what is being imported in order to manage
greenback leakages,” he suggested.
Looking at the year
on year trade deficit for the past few months, he said that for
the month of June it rose 4.9 percent to 230.2 million dollars,
and in July, it rose 18.23 percent to 217.9 million dollars -
mainly on account of rising imports.
“There is also need
to deal with externalization of the greenback. Zimbabwe is being
used by some people as a field to harvest U.S. dollars that are
then smuggled to other countries where there are stable economic
fundamentals for doing business,” Machadu said.
A number of people
have been arrested over the years for allegedly externalizing
The Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority has also effected a tracking system to monitor
vehicles purporting to be in transit to other countries, yet
they dump goods in the country without paying duty.
Machadu said while
short term measures like increasing surveillance on cash
smuggling could be implemented, a sustainable solution lay in
making sure that the country had friendly policies that
attracted investment, as well as more foreign loans and other
lines of credit.
Zimbabwe president calls for
more multilateralism to solve pressing global issues
UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe President Robert Gabriel Mugabe on
Thursday called for deeper cooperation and more multilateralism
among countries in order to reach the objectives of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Mugabe told the
United Nations General Assembly that the current global
development agenda differs in significant ways from all those
that preceded it as “it is ambitious, revolutionary,
transformative, universal, and encompassing every single facet
of human life.”
That is why the
agenda requires reinforced solidarity, partnerships and
cooperation, according to Mugabe.
On equality, Mugabe
said that deeper international cooperation and genuine reform of
the existing inequitable international system are necessary in
the process to halt or reverse the persistent widening gap
between the rich and the poor among the nations.
“The current system
is inherently structured to enrich a few and impoverish the
many. It cannot, therefore, deliver on a key aspiration and
watchword objective of the 2030 Agenda, that of leaving no-one
behind,” he said.
climate change, Mugabe urged the delegates to acknowledge the
present reality and assess its effects and impacts.
He said that climate
change is global and dealing with the issue requires global
“We cannot remain
silent when a major economic power in the world, or any other
state for that matter, decides to abandon the Paris Climate
Change Agreement, and thus put our countries at further risk of
the effects of climate change such as more frequent and severe
droughts,” said Mugabe.
The General Assembly
of the United Nations kicked off its annual general debate on
Tuesday, with heads of state and government representatives
gathering at the UN headquarters to present their views about
pressing world issues.