Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is working on acquiring more hi-tech equipment including mobile cargo and baggage scanners to boost operations at the newly upgraded border post.
Acting Commissioner-General, Mr Rameck Masaire, said on Wednesday that they had started beefing up their staff complement in the build-up to the anticipated traffic during the festive seasons.
He said they had already advertised tenders for the procurement of the scanners. At the moment the revenue collector has two mobile cargo scanners and several others for baggage and is also making use of the canine section to detect contrabands.
“We have gone out on tender to get additional cargo and baggage scanners,” said Mr Masaire.
“The tender process is now at an advanced stage. The new equipment will help us get the job done. However, we will not use the scanners only, but we have other risk management options that are available so that we don’t have a situation where scanners delay the movement of cargo.”
He said the tax authority was taking staff from other less busy operations, which they were now deploying to Beitbridge, the Sadc’s busiest inland port of entry.
The official said the less busy stations will be manned by a mixture of experienced customs officers and newly recruited trainees.
Mr Masaire said the new infrastructure allowed them to assess additional resources required, including human resources.
“We have already started deploying additional resources to Beitbridge so that we have optimum human resources that are required for the operations,” he said.
“Beitbridge has been identified as one of our key operating areas and there is a deliberate decision to make sure that at all levels within the border are properly supported in terms of recruitment.
“So that process is already in place from regional managers, shift managers, and supervisors and general staff.”
Mr Masaire said although they would want to have more pairs of hands at Beitbridge, limited accommodation was one of their impediments.
He said they were hoping the issue will be addressed as more houses are being built under the order modernization process.
The Government and its partners are constructing 264 more houses from border workers, which will be completed by the end of next year.
“As the festive season builds up, we are sufficiently prepared in terms of filling the gaps on staff members,” he said.
“We are looking at an excess of 300 workers and currently they are less than that. In fact, we need at least 450 people at Beitbridge to increase efficiency,” said Mr Masaire. – @tupeyo