Covid-19: ZIMRA overwhelmed by Beitbridge Border Post traffic increase

By Almot Maqolo

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is currently clearing and releasing on average 800 trucks per day, compared to an average of 400 in 2019 as some transporters are avoiding countries with stricter Covid-19 rules opting to pass through the country’s busiest Beitbridge Border Post.

Beitbridge is Zimbabwe’s busiest border post located in the country’s southern part and borders with South Africa’s Musina. Head Corporate Communications Francis Chimanda said the tax agency is taking steps to cope with increased Covid-19 related traffic at Beitbridge Border Post.

“The current traffic situation at Beitbridge Border post has seen an unprecedented increase of approximately over 100% in both import and export movement in the last few days. ZIMRA is taking steps, in partnership with various stakeholders, to improve the turnaround time.

“The increase has been largely attributed to the different Covid-19 testing protocols implemented by different countries in the region, which have seen transporters diverting their trucks from some routes to and from South Africa and transiting through Zimbabwe, resulting in the increase in the flow of traffic through Beitbridge,” he said, adding that this has imposed unanticipated strain on both border infrastructure and human resources for Zimbabwe and neighboring country border stakeholders.

Also, ZIMRA is working with regional counterparts in neighboring countries to facilitate trade and travel. Some of the measure taken to relieve the congestion and ensure easier movement include but are not limited to the introduction of more queues, fast tracking of maize and other urgent food imports, fuel, explosive materials and empty trucks.

However, the tax agency is engaging with its various stakeholders in order to find ways of addressing the challenges through collaboration and teamwork. While there is room for improvement, Chimanda said there is need to maintain a balance between facilitation, revenue collection, enforcing controls and being mindful of the Covid-19 virus and the protocols that need to be implemented to reduce exposure for clients, employees and other stakeholders.

“ZIMRA continues to engage with other stakeholders to ensure that our clearance processes and systems are as fluid as possible under the circumstances and the truck flow remains steady and consistently under control.”

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