Smuggling escalates on Mozambique border

Source: Smuggling escalates on Mozambique border | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

By Kenneth Matimaire
MUTARE — Smuggling of goods along the porous border between Zimbabwe and  Mozambique has escalated, as locals seek to eke out a living through cross-border trade.
Zimbabweans have resorted to smuggling to dodge paying duty to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, government’s tax collection agency.
Most of the smuggled goods comprise bales of second-hand clothes, soft drinks, fuel, alcoholic beverages, livestock, toiletries, hardware, household appliances and foodstuffs.
There are only two designated entry points into Mozambique at Forbes Border Post in Mutare and Cashel Valley Border Post in Chimanimani.
Smugglers are taking advantage of the porous borders to illegally transport goods using undesignated routes along Burma Valley, Penhalonga, Imbeza and Mutasa.
Most of the smuggled goods find their way to sprouting general dealer shops dotted around Mutare for resell at lower prices.
This has posed viability challenges to wholesalers, supermarkets and local manufacturers who pay higher duties as they import their products into the country.
Smuggling of goods in Manicaland has deprived Treasury of revenue, which could have been generated through duty payments if the goods were imported into the country through the two designated entry points.
Police details have made frantic efforts to curb smuggling in the eastern region where they have been recovering goods worth about US$250 000 per month.
There has been 30 arrests between October 1 and November 12.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) admitted this week that smuggling was rampant.
“It is very easy for people to smuggle goods in or outside the country due to the nature of our borders,” said CZI president, Busisa Moyo.
“Goods continue to find their way into the country illegally. Although we experienced a 14 percent decrease in imports after the introduction of Statutory Instrument (SI) 64, we cannot rule out smuggling (as a contributing factor) because some of the goods are finding their way in through undesignated entry points,” he added.
SI 64 of 2016 restricted the importation of a number of basic commodities into the country to protect local industries.
Police details in Manicaland confirmed the smuggling, although they have deployed more uniformed and plain clothes officers under the Border Control Unit to curb the scourge.
Information availed to the Financial Gazette indicates that Manicaland police officers seized 2 320 litres of smuggled diesel and 606 litres of petrol worth US$3 468 between October 1 and November 12.
A total of 297 bales of second hand clothes worth US$156 058 and 96 pairs of new shoes and 57 bales of second hand shoes worth US$17 978 were also recovered.
In addition, thousands of litres of soft drinks, beer, whiskey and 75 boxes of soap and spaghetti were confiscated during police raids that also netted margarine, stoves and gas tanks worth over US$40 000.
Manicaland police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa, told the Financial Gazette that there was a serious crisis along the border.
“There is rampant smuggling along the Zimbabwe and Mozambican border,” said Kakohwa.
“At first, we used to have headaches with smuggling of bales of second-hand clothes, but now it has spread to soft drinks. Fuel smuggling is also rampant and we have made a lot of recoveries,” he added.