The Zambia Revenue Authority is aware about plans by smugglers who are claiming to be clearing agents going round the country soliciting for a country-wide disruption to the smooth facilitation of trade across our borders.
This scheme is being hatched in response to our heightened anti-smuggling strategy and the standardization of the valuation, for duty purposes, of imported used motor vehicle including the recent decision to start allowing individuals to self-clear their importations aimed restoring stability in the clearing industry.
These interventions have reduced opportunities for corruption and smuggling hence the reaction by smugglers who are masquerading as clearing agents and causing confusion in the clearing business.
These purported clearing agents decided to protest at Chirundu, Kazungula and Livingstone and unfortunately some genuine clearing agents blindly joined in the protest.
We want to remind the clearing agents that we are mandated to collect revenue on behalf of the Government. As the licensing Authority, we shall not hesitate to revoke any license for anyone who is found abetting smuggling by changing invoices or deliberately misclassifying goods at the ports of entry. Since January 2019, we have revoked 49 clearing licenses for various offences related to smuggling”, according to Topsy Sikalinda.
The ZRA Corporate Communications Manager says the clearing industry in Zambia currently has 823 active clearing companies out of which 10 companies control almost 93% of business and the rest 813 companies share the remaining 7%.
“The top 10 Clearing and Forward Agents by volume and value of business who also control 93% of the business in terms of value are Bollore Africa Logistics Zambia Limited; Customized Clearing and Forwarding; Transtra International Zambia Limited; Global Logistics Limited; Cargo Management Logistics; Ultimate Logistics Limited; Esse Clearing Limited; Hill And Delamain (Zambia) Limited; Uti (Zambia) Limited; and Barthsam Freight Services Limited”, he said.
Mr Sikalinda said ZRA will support and protect these clearing agents whether they are local or international.
He said most clearing companies are doing a great job by ensuring that all requirements are followed and correct declarations are done but we have a number of small clearing companies who do not want to follow the laid down procedures and guidelines because they survive on facilitating smuggling.
Mr Sikalinda has appealed to clearing agents’ associations not to accept smugglers to be part of their membership.
Meanwhile, Mr Sikalinda has announced the ZRA legal team have successfully secured two convictions in Nakonde involving clearing agents namely IIan Sinyinza aged 27, and Joe Zyambo aged 28.
He said the two were convicted of forgery and altering a false document contrary to section 342, 347 and 352 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 87 of the laws of Zambia. There two are currently serving their six months jail sentence.
Mr. Sikalinda said the Authority has strengthened the screening process of all Clearing and Forwarding agencies in order to protect the rights of importers and taxpayers in general.
He said under Domestic Taxes DIRIE LIMITED, a trading company located at Plot No. 24646, Zani Muone, along the Great North Road in Lusaka was also convicted by a Lusaka subordinate court on one count of the offence of failure to issue a tax invoice contrary to section 7(3) and (4) of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act No. 12 of 2017.