By Alois Vinga
THE Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) violations registered a 96% increase signifying accelerated efforts by truck drivers to avoid the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (ZIMRA) cargo compliance systems, it has emerged.
ECTS is a technology solution that enables real-time tracking of cargo from point of loading to point of offloading.
The system was introduced by ZIMRA to help monitor the movement of goods remotely.
It is also a mechanism which prevents theft and dumping of goods in transit through a given territory.
The country has in the past, lost millions of dollars in potential tax revenue due to cargo ferrying truckers who purport to be passing through Zimbabwe on their way to neighbouring countries like Malawi and Zambia but end up offloading the cargo locally without paying anything.
However, recent statistics released by ZIMRA show that the ECTS system which was expected to plug such leakages is being violated.
“Geo-fence violations rose from 96 in 2017 to 188 in 2018 thereby registering a 96% increase. Penalties collected from the violations rose from ZWL$196 000 in 2017 to ZWL$378 000 in 2018,” the ZIMRA report said.
Contacted for comment, ZIMRA head of corporate communications, Francis Chimanda said that fuel tankers constituted a greater part of violations as they are the major importers.
“Fuel tankers dominated in ECTS violations because they form the greater bulk of cargo type being sealed. At Forbes border post, 80% of all cargo sealed there are tankers and at Beitbridge, 40% of all cargo sealed there are tankers.
“Out of these tankers, about 65% of those sealed at Forbes and 35% of those sealed at Beitbridge violated the ECTS,” he said.
However, he refuted suspicions that the violations are motivated by smuggling attempts.
“From cases dealt with, it has been noted that most cases of the violations were not intentional. Geofence violations were as a result of new drivers not familiar with Zimbabwean roads and lack of knowledge as to the implications of route selection at port of entry,” Chimanda added.