ZIMRA’s cargo tracking system scares off fuel cartels

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By Alois Vinga

ILLICIT fuel dealing has significantly reduced after the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) adopted an Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) in 2016, Commissioner General Faith Mazani said Friday.

The ECTS system tracks and monitors transit cargo from the point of entry into Zimbabwe to the point of exit using electronic seals attached to the cargo, covering containerised and break bulk cargo as well as fuel tankers.

Mazani told the official launch of the tracking system in Harare Friday that the tax collector has noticed significant decline in the numbers of clients approaching the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) to collect “fuel for export.”

“Fuel withdrawal from NOIC, Msasa Depot purported to be for export reduced already after the introduction of electronic sealing.

“Before the introduction of the system in 2016, 2 320 trucks withdrew fuel for export but the figure reduced to 942 in 2017 and further went down to 162 in 2018,” Mazanhi said.

The Zimra chief said the importation of fuel which had reached record highs through the Kazungula Border Post abruptly stopped when the electronic system was extended to that frontier indicating the existence of smuggling rackets.

Mazanhi added that the adoption of the new system has also saved clearance time for the trucks because those that are electronically sealed are no longer subjected to physical examination and scanning thereby improving the turnaround times for cargo movement.

“Revenues from excise duty on fuels like petrol and diesel also increased from ZWL$ 490 000 in 2017 to ZWL$539 000 in 2018,” she added.

The monitoring provided by ECTS is real time and the sealed cargo will constantly be under the ECTS control room radar throughout the geo-fenced route. The electronic device sealed to the transiting cargo is linked to the control room and reports any violations or any tampering.

Any violation and tampering alarms are promptly attended to by the stand-by Zimra Reaction Teams for corrective action, which may involve penalties or seizure of the cargo depending on gravity of the offence.