Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on Friday put into operation the electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS), introduced as a pilot project in 2017, as it moves to plug revenue leakages through smuggling of commodities.
Speaking at the handover of the system from the Department of Revenue Assurance to that of Customs and Excise, Zimra commissioner general Faith Mazani said the ECTS had yielded positive results as it reduced smuggling of fuel while increasing revenue collected through excise duty of the commodity.
"ECTS has yielded positive results, which have been felt in the market, notably the four trucks intercepted at Chirundu border post after it was discovered that they had tampered with the seals and replaced the fuel they were carrying with water.
The trucks were seized and the offender was prosecuted.
"We have also had other achievements, which saw fuel withdrawal from NOIC purported to be for export reduced greatly after the introduction of electronic sealing. In 2016, a total of 2 320 trucks withdrew fuel for export from NOIC, the figure reduced to 942 in 2017 and further went down to 162 in 2018," she said.
Ms Mazani said the importation of fuel, which had increased through Kazungula border post, abruptly stopped when electronic sealing was extended to that port of entry, pointing to smuggling syndicates that had been using it.
"Revenue from excise duty on fuel (both diesel and petrol) increased from $490 million in 2017 to $539.6 million in 2018. This was despite the fact that during the period under review the rates of duty had actually been reduced.
Electronically sealed trucks are no longer being subjected to physical examination and scanning, thereby improving the turnaround times for movement of cargo.
Before the introduction of the system, Zimra would escort transit trucks from the point of entry to the port of exit out of Zimbabwe to ensure that fuel declared as in transit would not end up on the local market.
Zimra tax collections account for over 95 percent of Government budget revenue.