By HELEN ZULU –
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has launched a US$6.4 million Electronic Cargo Inspection Scanner at the Nakonde One Stop Border Post (OSBP) which will help to minimise revenue leakages through smuggling. ZRA commissioner general Kingsley Chanda said the scanner which has been procured by the Government at a cost of US$6.4 million had a radiation portal to give customs the ability to check whether any radioactive material was being smuggled into the country.
Mr Chanda said the use of non intrusive examination equipment was part of ZRA’s strategic plan to clamp down on non compliant behavior while facilitating legitimate trade, safety and border security.
He was speaking during the launch of the scanner at Nakonde OSBP yesterday.
“The scanners use X-Ray technology with double radian scanning system which have an ability to show various types of materials in different colour codes for easy identification of possible smuggling.
“ This unique feature allows our officers to thoroughly check all goods passing through the border that are subjected to scanning, “ Mr Chanda said.
He explained that from a business perspective, the authority would be able to scan and clear over 200 containers on a daily basis as it took less than 15 minutes to inspect the goods in a container using the new scanner.
Mr Chanda said this scanning process also helped eradicate possible fraud, bribes and thefts because all transactions were recorded adding that the scanner would help ZRA in responding to global trends for a faster and easy supply chain system that mainly relied on improved trade facilitation.
“In places where we have installed similar scanners, we have been able to intercept goods that were misclassified or concealed,” he said.
Mr Chanda said the border on average processes between 250 and 300 trucks per day including import, export and transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries.
And Finance Minister Felix Mutati has directed ZRA to arrest anyone found smuggling goods and forfeit the same, to avoid robbing the country of the much needed revenue.
Mr Mutati directed the authority to arrest anyone found smuggling and forfeit all the goods as they were robbing the country of the much needed resources.
He said the new high technology cargo container scanner was a game changer at Nakonde border post as it would help ZRA deal with illicit trade activities.
Mr Mutati said this would help Government find balance that would provide fair taxation and at the same time garner sufficient resources to deliver public services and spearhead development.
“You have been authorized to implement traffic management system which will be critical to reversing the erosion of smuggling. Arrest the smugglers, it does not matter who is connected or involved as long as they are promoting the erosion of revenue collection, arrest them.
“I am further confident that with this equipment, we are assured of protecting our economic growth and physical security which creates an enabling environment for business growth,” he said.
National Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme said the installation of the scanner would assist in accelerating economic growth through revenue collection.
Mr Chiteme said the scanner would play a critical role in enhancing efficiency in revenue collection, import and export declaration.
“The launch of the scanner will improve access to trade with other countries thereby promoting economic diversification,” he said.