Business

World customs body must whip smugglers – Mutati

MUTATI

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Finance Felix Mutati has called for further co-operation and linkages in the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to a bid to reduce tax evasion and smuggling that hinders revenue collection.
Speaking when he met WCO secretary-general Kunio Mikuriya last week, Mr Mutati commended Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) efforts in ensuring maximisation of revenue collection as it provides the basis for the implementation of national projects.
He, however, noted that ZRA’s operations were being hampered by sophisticated smugglers and so capacity building and technical support from the international body are important.
“Our appeal to you, Mr Mikuriya, is that you help us deal with one of our biggest problems which is smuggling,” he said. “As long as, desecration is part of the revenue process then you have a problem, so secretary-general help whip smuggling for us before you go.”
The minister pointed out that modernisation of the revenue system was not enough as traders were able to manipulate the valuation system and so circumvent effective revenue collection.
“I know that it is going to take a lot more work for ZRA to collect more revenue – including minimisation of linkages because it is beyond modernisation it includes co-operating with the WCO for capacity building particularly for transit goods,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Mikuriya said Zambia has been a very important member of the WCO as it is progressing well with the implementation of the organisation’s standards.
He said a well-co-ordinated border management that includes all government agencies is critical for the success of trade facilitation.
Mr Mikuriya is happy that ZRA has continued to enhance its operations.
“Zambia is really a good model to showcase to other countries in terms of support to the revenue authority and linkages to other government agencies,” he said.

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