End Forbes Border Post Corruption
ZIMBABWE’s economy is reeling from a liquidity crunch due to failure to attract enough foreign direct investment and generate more money from exports as well as a thriving manufacturing sector. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to attempts to resuscitate the country’s productive sector remains the issue of corruption at porous borders. There is smuggling of cheap imports that sell at uncompetitive prices in the informal sector.
Mutare’s Forbes Border Post to Mozambique is no exception. Mutare has become the hub of second-hand clothes smuggled from Mozambique. People from all corners of the country come to Mutare to order bales of second hand clothes for resale. The clothes will sell from as little as 50 cents which undercuts local clothing outlets.
Apart from the thriving second-hand clothing trade, unblended fuel from Mozambique is being smuggled and sold in Mutare. The unblended petrol which started selling for $1 per litre whilst local blended petrol would sell at $1.30 resulted in fuel stations losing business. In addition, illicit alcoholic beverages and groceries are also smuggled from Mozambique selling on the streets at uncompetitive prices.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland, Mandi Chimene, early this year said she was going to probe the smuggling syndicate at Forbes Border Post which is threatening the revival of local manufacturing companies. Addressing a meeting convened by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Manicaland Chamber under the theme: “Resuscitation of the Manicaland Economy – Current and Future Pointers,” Minister Chimene bemoaned the lack of political will to stop smuggling of goods into the country, claiming that perpetrators were syndicates that include top government officials and business cartels. “Army and police officers are receiving a $50 bribe to allow a consignment of second hand clothes in the bush”, she said.
Government, last year, enacted Statutory Instrument SI 64 of 2016 banning importation of various goods including groceries and building materials but these continue to find inroads into the country. High value minerals such as diamonds and gold are also smuggled through the Mozambique Channel resulting in massive loss of revenue.
T I Z urges Mutare citizens whether they are consumers, vendors or retailers to combat corruption. As residents and businesses of Mutare we have a responsibility to end the corruption taking place at Forbes Border post. Government is called upon to assist by addressing policies that impede the ease of doing business. If the cost of compliance is high, citizens resort to cheaper alternatives which usually include corrupt activity. It is profitable for Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to come up with reasonable duty fees so that people use the formal entry point. Above all, the government must show political will to combat corruption.
TIZ is therefore calling stakeholders such as Police, ZIMRA, Immigration Department, ZACC, Media, Parliament, and Judiciary to join hands to reduce, combat, and detect corruption. Joint Anti-corruption efforts must be directed towards policy formulation and implementation, education and awareness and research. Reduction in corruption will support growth of local industry and create jobs.