By Joyce Mukucha and Anyway Yotamu
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) border agencies have been urged to resist the temptation that perpetrate ills of corruption in as much as facilitation of trade and travel is concerned.
Speaking at the belated commemoration of the International Customs Day in Harare on the 27th of January 2020 which ran under the theme, “Customs Fostering Sustainability for the People, Prosperity and the Planet”, ZIMRA Commissioner General, Mrs Faith Mazanhi said it was important for ZIMRA border officers to maintain integrity at all times.
“As we work with other stakeholders at our different ports of entry and exit to stop smuggling through undesignated crossing points, I urge us all to strengthen our resolve to fight corruption in all forms.
“The world of custom officers exposes them to acts of corruption especially at border posts. As we commemorate this International Customs Day under the World Customs Organisation (WCO), I would like to call upon all our ZIMRA officers to desist from corruption, smuggling, tax evasion and all deceitful dealings and report all corruption activities at our toll free hotlines or relevant authorities.
She highlighted that ZIMRA has recently partnered with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to intensify the right against corruption and the process has already started to yield results in line with the motor vehicle smuggling syndicate process of recovering the revenue lost as well as confiscation of assets.
She added that it was the agency’s role to continuously act responsibly in protecting the environment, people and future generations towards the vision 2030.
“Zimbabwe is working closely with an independent Intergovernmental boards established to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of customs administration globally. It is also a proud member of the World Customs Organisation, and one of the 183 customs administration countries that WCO represents across the globe. Therefore I call upon ZIMRA officers to fight against corruption as we celebrate this day. We say zero tolerance to corruption, tax evasion and smuggling. As ZIMRA, let us remain committed to continue working in a positive manner to improve our business processes in order to better serve our clients and create a toxic free environment,” she said.
Officiating at the day, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube also emphasised that as business leaders, ZIMRA should defeat corruption, eliminate bottlenecks, which arise at boarder posts and continue implementing reforms towards fostering sustainability for the people, prosperity and the planet.
He said it was ZIMRA’s responsibility to promote prosperity of the economy through sustainable resource mobilisation.
“This year’s theme speaks of the Sustainable future in line with the Zimbabwe’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme which aims at improving our financial wellbeing as a country along the social, health and environmental wellbeing. As ZIMRA celebrates this International Customs Day, I encourage you to resist temptation that perpetrates the ills of corruption, money laundering and snuggling.
“ZIMRA is mandated to ensure that it protects the Zimbabwean society and environment through law enforcement, making sure that imports and banned drugs or substances do not harm the flora and fauna. I’m proud to announce that ZIMRA collected net revenue of $ZW23, 19 billion against a target of $ZW18,6 billion for the year ending at 31 December 2019, thus exceeding the target by $24, 65 percent,” he said.
Professor Ncube also commended ZIMRA for positively responding to business and economic changes so as to improve environmental sustainability. Government, he said, will continue to work tirelessly with ZIMRA to complement its efforts aimed at enhancing the efficiency and efficacy of customs and tax systems in the country for improved economic performance.
In his remarks read on his behalf by Happias Kuzvinzwa, the Secretary General of the WCO Mr. Kunio Mikuriya said Customs were positioned and mandated to play a prominent role across the international supply chain in ensuring the sustainable, secure and inclusive future for all.
“Customs play a critical role in implementing regulations, addressing the major social and economic challenges facing society. They do this by promoting innovation through the protection of intellectual property rights.
“We have only ten years left to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it important for customs to address all economic, social and environmental challenges affecting the society,” he said.
The International Customs Day is celebrated every year worldwide on the 26th of January.