Source: Zim moots electronic duty-free certificate – DailyNews Live January 5, 2017
HARARE – Treasury is moving to introduce an electronic duty-free
certificate to curb abuse of the paper following indications that
government blew $258,5 million on imports in 2015 facilitated through the
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said following rampant abuse of the
State-issued paper, government was tightening screws on the issuing
“…There are, however, circumstances where duty-free certificates have
been abused, thereby defrauding the fiscus, as well prejudicing local
“In order to enhance compliance and also secure an effective audit trail,
it is proposed to introduce an electronic duty-free certificate.
“Duty-free certificates issued by accounting officers will, thus, be
lodged into the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) system,” Chinamasa
The Treasury chief last year told National Assembly that the total value
of duty-free certificates – used for duty-free clearance of imported goods
for the exclusive use of government – issued in 2015 stood at $258,5
million while the 2014 figure was $292 million.
The certificates are issued in line with Treasury Circular No. 13 of 2005 and cannot be used to
clear goods for individuals.
In 2015, Health and Child Care ministry accounted for $162,3 million of
the total goods imported using duty-free certificates – making it the
State’s biggest importer – followed by the Tourism and Hospitality
Management ministry which imported $42,3 million worth of goods.
“However, it is important to note that some government departments,
particularly the Health and Child Care ministry also receive donated goods
from external donors. The goods are also cleared using duty-free
certificates,” Chinamasa said.
This comes amid concern from various quarters over the issuance of the
certificates as it also recently emerged that various government
departments were using the certificates to import goods then selling them
on the black market.
Late last year, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority revealed that the
CMED was importing at least 600 000 litres of duty-free fuel per month,
with some ending up being sold at exorbitant prices on the black market.
Zimbabwe has restricted the basic goods that can make their way into the
country without attracting duty and cut travellers rebate to $200 from
Taxes charged on imports accounted for 21 percent of the $725 million
taxes collected by the country’s tax agency during the first quarter of