via Govt commissions high-tech scanner at border post | The Herald October 29, 2013 by Walter Nyamukondiwa
GOVERNMENT has commissioned a relocatable scanner at Chirundu Border Post which is expected to increase revenue collection through minimising fraud and improving efficiency in the handling of cargo.The scanner, installed by a Chinese company at a cost of about US$10 million, is expected to ease congestion at the border post which has seen increased traffic flows in recent months.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the scanner would go a long way in modernising customs clearance in line with the World Customs Organisation’s thrust.
“Quick clearance times, ladies and gentlemen, mean reduced cost of doing business through low demurrage costs. Of late Chirundu has become a preferred transit route and this has resulted in increased traffic flow,” he said.
From about 150 trucks, the border post now handles 350 trucks as the volume of traffic continues to increase. The scanner eliminates the need for physical inspection of cargo which often results in delays that bring about extra costs for transporters after exceeding the allowable 72-hour transit time.
The scanner can clear at least 20 trucks in an hour. The minister appealed to the business world, particularly operators in the hospitality industry to invest in Chirundu as infrastructure is being put in place. He said investment in the setting up of truck-inns and other related facilities would go a long way in reducing congestion at the border post.
Zimra Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi said the scanner would help curb illicit trade and drug trafficking through improved inspection of high risk containers and cargo without disturbing the general flow of traffic.
He said the commissioning of the scanner was part of the ongoing programme to modernise customs clearance, adding that the next phase would see the networking of the scanners so that information is quickly relayed to the next border post. This would effectively curb transit fraud which he said was rampant.
“As you know Zimra is faced with increasing volumes of traffic at this hot border post (Chirundu). This is not a mean task and we have had to consistently devise ways of enhancing convenience to the transacting public,” he said.
The use of state-of-the-art technology was one of the ways of improving efficiency by complementing the implementation of the One-Stop Border Post concept.