Source: Drone planes to be deployed at border posts – Sunday News Jun 19, 2016
Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
THE Government will soon introduce drone planes to monitor movement of goods in and out of the country to reduce human interface, as it has emerged that some officials from Zimra and Government were smuggling goods under the auspices of goods in transit. Addressing captains of the industry in Gweru on Friday during Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said his ministry would intensify the use of Information Communication Technology especially the use of drone planes to monitor all ports of entry as it intensifies crackdown on smuggling.
He said this comes after the ministry last week busted trucks that were purported to be on their way to Democratic Republic of Congo but were later found offloading products in Harare.
Minister Bimha said there was no way the country would turn around its economy and promote its industry for as long as the borders and ports of entry remain porous. He said some Government officials and Zimra employees were forging documents purporting that products or goods were destined for other countries in a bid to avoid duty.
“Some of smuggling is in connivance with Government officials from Zimra and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Recently we have witnessed transit smuggling.
“Last week we busted a truck with products destined for DRC in terms of their paper work but were meant for Harare. They do this to avoid duty. Our borders are very porous. We want to make use of IT and drones to curb smuggling,” he said.
Ministry Bimha said local industries must also be able to compete with foreign owned companies if they want to stay afloat rather than rushing to Government for protection.
“Government is not there to protect industry. Businesspeople must learn that competition is here to stay. We take cognisant of the fact that our economy went through a rough patch but we cannot protect you forever. We have removed duty on certain products that are on demand locally. We have increased duty on products locally available. If you want to import cooking oil you apply for a license,” he said.
Minister Bimha also urged companies to embrace bond notes when they are introduced as they were meant to curb externalisation of hard currency. Turning to Ziscosteel, Minister Bimha said Government was to blame for the failure of the deal due to lack of consistency and misunderstandings on the operationalisation of the giant steel manufacturing company. He however, said Government had courted new investors to come and revive Zisco.
“Government is not doing enough to revive Zisco. One of my mandates when I was appointed minister was to revive Zisco. The issue is that it is very key. You can measure a degree of production capacity.
“Once it revives other downstream industries will benefit including NRZ. We also want to manufacture stainless steel because we have all the raw materials locally. We have reserves of iron. We want investors in stainless steel. During the inclusive Government there was a lot of bickering and Essar allowed us to resolve our issues. We then re-invited them but because we delayed they invested elsewhere. Following the plummeting commodity prices internationally, Essar said we cannot continue.
“We are now saying why can’t Government take over the debt so that the investor comes and recapitalise Zisco. We are talking to potential investors so that we revive Zisco,” he said. Meanwhile, prominent businesswoman Mrs Smelly Dube scooped the 2015 Most Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year award for the sixth time in a row.
She is the reigning 2014 National Businesswoman of the Year. Dr Killer Zivhu also scooped the Philanthropist of the Year award while Mr Antony Pote was the 2015 Outstanding Businessman of the Year.