Zimra wants military solution to smuggling 

Source: Zimra wants military solution to smuggling – The Zimbabwe Independent

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) said this week security forces must play a bigger role in fighting fuel smuggling syndicates, as authorities escalated raids to reclaim lost revenue.

Francis Chimanda, head of corporate affairs at Zimra, spoke as the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said it was worried about the Zimbabwean vehicle fleet’s safety because gluts of smuggled fuels were not being subjected to Consignment Based Conforment

Assessment checks, which are vital for eliminating contaminated products.

Both Zera and Zimra were not at liberty to disclose fuel volumes involved in the smuggling scourge.

But the country has recently recorded a sharp rise in the number of service stations.


In the past four years, Zera has licensed over 3 300 retailers, according to official data.

Of these, 910 operators entered the market last year alone, a marked increase from 733 in 2020, 848 in 2021 and 881 in 2022.

Investors are being attracted by opportunities stemming out of the growth of the domestic fleet, whose fuel requirements are now estimated at over one billion litres a year, from about 750 million litres over a decade ago.


There have been indications that cutthroat competition has triggered an explosion of vices including tax evasion.


But responding to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent, Chimanda said crackdowns would be increased and smugglers nabbed, as authorities battle to plug revenue leakages.

“Investigations are still ongoing,” Chimanda said this week, referring to reports of increased smuggling..

“Information is still being collated and will be processed to determine the legality of fuel importations by the companies. Zimra has total volume of fuel imported for domestic use and transit. Fuel abuse will be determined only after the data matching exercise is complete. Any revenue due to the State will be recovered and where prosecutions are required, these will also be pursued. The country has porous borders that require collaborative effort from all border stakeholders including the security forces and other law enforcement agencies,” Chimanda told the Independent.

Reports indicated that regulators have raided several small scale fuel retailers after discovering that petrol and diesel were among products being smuggled at a larger scale, leading to tax revenue losses.

“Zera and Zimra have raided various fuel dealers due to concerns that some companies have been smuggling fuel into the country. The government has been losing potential revenue,” a source said.

Reports said some smugglers were declaring petroleum as shipments in transit to avoid paying requisite duties.

But the fuel has ended up being sold in the Zimbabwean market.

The Independent was told that in September, several refuelling outlets were shut down in an extensive Zera crackdown triggered by the deliberate contamination of fuel with dangerous chemicals to increase volumes.

Edington Muzambani, CEO at Zera, confirmed at the time that the regulator had dispatched teams countrywide to probe fuel contamination following a drumbeat of anger by motorists.