ZIMRA clears air on border delays

The Sunday Mail

Norman Muchemwa

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra has cleared the air on purported long delays at Beitbridge border post saying travellers with proper travelling documents take a reasonable time to be cleared at the port of entry.

There are widespread accusations that people are taking longer hours ranging between six and eight hours to be cleared.

Zimra’s head of corporate communications, Mr Francis Chimanda, cleared the air and attributed some delays to improper travelling documents.

He added that some delays are a result of engaging middle men who promise to facilitate visitors’ entry faster than the proper channels.

“Unless they do not have all the correct and necessary documents required for clearance by Zimra, motorists and travellers do not spend six to eight hours to be cleared by Customs on the Zimbabwe side of Beitbridge border post,” said Mr Chimanda.

“Also, if they allow to be intercepted by and engage illegitimate agents, who claim to assist them, they end up being delayed or duped by the same.”

Mr Chimanda explained that the authority has put in place mechanisms to allow the smooth and efficient movement all traffic at the entry point.

“The authority has put in place the electronic temporary import permit, which motorists can apply for before reaching the border post. This reduces the time taken to process a temporary import permit at the port of entry.

“We also have a single payment point where all border-related fees are collected at a single point for the convenience of travellers.”

He explained that Beitbridge also employs traffic separation, where vehicles are separated into buses, private motorists, heavy trucks, light commercial vehicles and pedestrians.

Further, Zimra has introduced use of scanners as well as sniffer dogs to reduce time taken to do physical examination.

The electronic cargo tracking system reduces time to conduct physical examinations and escorts has also been introduced as well as pre-clearance facility that allows importers to clear their goods before the consignment arrives.

All these methods, said Mr Chimanda, have been introduced to allow easy movement of both human and vehicular traffic.

Beitbridge, which is open 24 hours, processes an estimated 20 000 to 30 000 people between South Africa and Zimbabwe every day.