Biti takes aim at border corruption

HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti has blasted rising border corruption and lamented the incredible losses being incurred by the fiscus through leakages.

Presenting a $3,8 billion 2013 national budget in Parliament last week, Biti said border officials were employing delaying tactics in clearance of goods to force desperate importers to fork out bribes to push for faster clearance.

The tough-talking Finance minister said efforts by government to curb corruption by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials and tax payers has not yielded any fruit so far.

But, not anymore.

“Government is in the process of upgrading infrastructure at Beitbridge Border Post whose facilities are now overstretched, in order to ease congestion, thereby minimising rent-seeking opportunities,” Biti said.

He said he was moving to rid the borders of corruption.

“There is endemic corruption at ports of entry, especially at Beitbridge Border Post, resulting in inefficient service delivery which is costly to business and also results in loss of potential revenue to the fiscus,” he said.

“It has become routine that lengthy transit periods are experienced as importers await clearance of their goods.”

“The delays experienced are at times a deliberate ploy to induce payment of push money to Zimra officers by weary transport couriers and travellers who end up opting to pay bribes than spend lengthy periods at ports of entry.”

Biti said trans-border traders had openly admitted to paying bribes in order to avoid paying duty during the consultative process.

“Some business persons also related nasty experiences whereby imported raw materials were classified under tariffs of finished goods which attract higher rates of duty,” he said.

“The wrong classification of goods is intended to create a platform for rent-seeking activities by Zimra officers.”

He said this will soon be a thing of the past. - Bridget Mananavire

Comments (1)

Fix the corruption and put some signs there so travellers know where to go and in what order to do things to get through the border.

Peter Macklyn - 20 November 2012

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