State of borders cause for concern

HARARE - A report on the country’s ports of entry presented in Parliament last week revealed that not only are our borders porous, but also that the country has lost revenue running into millions of dollars because of that sorry state as goods are smuggled without paying excise duty.

We are aware that presently, Zimbabwe is flooded with cheap goods — and counterfeits too — entering the country from foreign lands through the porous borders and apart from affecting local industry, only benefit a few individuals.

While the report does not announce the sum total Zimbabwe could be losing as goods are smuggled into the country, it is without doubt a substantial figure.

We call upon government to expedite the process of modernising our borders which lag far behind compared to other posts that are modern and efficient in their services.

The failure to coordinate and to create watertight borders has led to needless inefficiencies and unnecessary leakages. With no modern equipment such as scanners, it is most likely that there is a possibility that people can use fake travelling documents and turn our borders into conduits of vice.

A case in point is with our minerals.

Between 2014 and 2015 Zimbabwe recovered gold and diamonds worth over $2,4 million from unlicensed dealers and that is only what was intercepted.

We hope that more stringent measures are put in place to stop the leakages and no doubt addressing the state of our borders is the first critical step.

Hopefully, government will take note of the parliamentary report which observed that our porous borders are now fraught with many logistical irregularities which have compromised expedient human movement, human security and amount of money remitted to the national Treasury by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

The fact that the Parly committee noted the need to address the problem of porous borders and weak border control and management mechanisms in order to ensure sustainable revenue generation at ports of entry and also stem out effectively the problem of both human and goods smuggling is important.

This will enable the availing of adequate resources to the relevant departments to ensure peace and security is secured in and around Zimbabwe.

Indeed it is perhaps high time that government sets up an authority to oversee our borders that remain outposts of vice and pose a security threat.

As the parliamentary committee rightly observed, such a national ports authority will attend to challenges at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry and this will ensure all operational, health, administrative and security issues are dealt with as they arise.

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