The World Economic Forum (WEF) has applauded the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) for its “effective” Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).
NewsDay Zimbabwe quotes WEF as saying the system was reducing the operational cost of transit monitoring and has encouraged more risk-based inspections.
ZIMRA started tracking cargo coming into and out of the country in 2017 in a bid to curb transit fraud including cargo diversions.
Zimbabwe’s ECTS has led to the detection of the illegal transit of 140 000 litres of diesel and US$55 650 in excise duty being saved as a result.
In its new publication on intra-African trade released at WEF’s annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland last week, the WEF said the introduction of the ECTS had brought about a major improvement in curbing illegal imports into Zimbabwe.
The report titled Growing Intra-African Trade through Digital Transformation of Border and Customs Service’s Regional Action Group for Africa notes reads in part:
Before the introduction of an ECTS in Zimbabwe, volumes of illegal imports were dumped in the country’s domestic markets, due partly to the absence of a live tracking mechanism for cargo. At the time, only transit data was available in the system and consequently, other data was being tampered with and delays in transit often occurred, along with incidents of theft and smuggling.
WEF added that between 2009 and 2016, the smuggling of petrol and diesel increased by almost 600%, and it is alleged that smugglers would often disguise petrol and diesel as duty-free paraffin.
WEF said cargo inspections could result in significant delays at borders even when non-intrusive inspections are conducted, especially when all of the cargo is checked and there is insufficient information to determine which shipments should be inspected.
According to the report, in Africa, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that the reduction of non-trade barriers could lead to trade gains in Africa of US$20 billion per year.