The Zimbabwean government is working on measures to curb smuggling as various basic commodities that are subject to an import ban continue to be smuggled into the local market, Industry and Trade minister Mike Bimha said this week.
Zimbabwe imposed an import ban on several basic goods, most of which come through via South Africa. In June this year, to protect the ailing manufacturing industry from cheap imports, some of the goods are prohibited from entering into the country include bottled water, furniture, building materials, steel products, cereals, potato crisps and dairy products.
The government argues that these products are adequately produced in the local market.
Addressing a press conference to announce a committee to monitor and evaluate the impact of the import ban effected through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, Minister Bimha admitted that there was rampant smuggling of the banned products, and blamed some customs officials for fuelling the smuggling.
The minister accused some customs officials of fuelling importation of the banned goods, and complained that the country’s borders were porous hence the rampant smuggling of goods.
The government was therefore working on tightening border controls by adopting use of modern technology as a way to curb smuggling.
The government, the minister said, was therefore working on tightening border controls by adopting use of modern technology as a way to curb smuggling.
The controversial import ban has been questioned by neighboring countries such as South Africa and Zambia, and led scores of Zimbabweans and South Africans to launch a massive protest against it at Beitbridge Border Post in July.
Most unemployed Zimbabweans eke out a living through buying goods in South Africa for resale in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe government has said the ban may last for three years.