Zimra system upgrade to be completed in June

Livingstone Marufu
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has acquired three top of the range servers in a bid to complete Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) systems upgrade by June this year to improve on efficiency and goods movement at the country’s borders.

While presenting Zimra’s first quarter results, Zimra board chairperson Willia Bonyongwe, said the revenue authority is upgrading the system to improve on the movement of goods to avoid delays and loss of business.

“The authority is currently in the process of upgrading the system to a higher version and to this end, three top-of-the-range servers have been acquired.

“These have replaced the obsolete servers that were hosting the system. The upgrade is expected to be completed by June 2018.

“This should put an end to the systems crash experienced previously especially in December 2017,” said Mrs Bonyongwe.

Electronic system has not been performing optimally causing inconveniences to clients particularly on e-filing and getting tax clearance certificates and revenue authority technical team and the system vendors were seized with resolving the challenges effectively in the short term.

The system is now up and all functionalities have been restored for the time being and after June long lasting solutions are expected to be in place.

Other countries including South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique and Mauritius are using modern systems with less hassles.

Last year, hundreds of commercial car importers were stranded at Beitbridge and Kazungula border posts, with cargo stuck for more than a week when the Asycuda system broke down.

The customs data processing system is Internet-based and requires maximum connectivity every time.

If working well, clearing agents registered with Zimra simply lodge a bill of entry from any location in the world where there is Internet connectivity and their entry is processed electronically.

Asycuda has been adopted as the official customs computer system in the Comesa region and is being used by 19 member states. Zimbabwe started using the Asycuda system for all commercial transactions in 1991.

The system has evolved through technological developments and innovations.

In 2001, Zimbabwe adopted Asycuda version 3, 0 better known as Asycuda++.

Zimbabwe was the first country in the Comesa region to migrate to Asycuda++.

Meanwhile, Beitbridge border post infrastructural projects have commenced after the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning availed funding.

The focus is on, among other things, introducing a queue management system and improving the infrastructure at the border post.

Works in this regard have commenced.

This will go a long way in bringing efficiency in the collection of duties and taxes at the border post.

More infrastructural projects are being undertaken in other border posts, with the limited resources available.

Also the granting of the tax amnesty to allow taxpayers to regularise their tax affairs by June 30, 2018 is another key development that is anticipated to go a long way in reducing non-compliance, reduce the debt level and subsequently enhance revenue collections in the future.

Gross collections were 8,1percent above the target of $1,029 billion, with collections amounting to $1,113 billion.

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