THE processing of vehicle imports at Beitbridge Border Post has become a nightmare for many car dealers and individuals after the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority introduced the Zero Cash Office concept without notice.
The development has seen many importers spending between two and three days to clear their vehicles.
The zero cash concept was mooted in 2005 although Zimra only started implementing it at Beitbridge Border Post three weeks ago.
It is now compulsory that all payments should be made through the Internet, Point of Sale machines or by depositing the money into Zimra’s CBZ Bank account. It is understood that the zero cash office is open to anyone on ZimSwitch, Visa and MasterCard.
A visit to the border post by Herald Business yesterday showed that some unscrupulous dealers had taken advantage of the situation and were now “hiring out” their Automated Teller Machine cards for between US$100 and US$120 to make payments to Zimra.
A notice at the main cash office read: “Please note that no cash payment will be accepted with effect from 19 June 2013.”
Car dealers and individuals said that the authority should have made the information readily available across the country rather than getting the news soon after getting to Beitbridge.
They also voiced concern of challenges, especially during the weekends, when most banks would be closed and called on Zimra to make zero cash payment an option rather than compulsory.
Zimra’s director of legal and corporate affairs, Ms Florence Jambwa, yesterday said the new concept was part of its strategies to consistently improve convenience and security to its valued clients.
“Currently, most inland stations do not handle cash as clients simply make deposits into Zimra accounts.
“As you may appreciate, it is not safe for the transacting public in general and importers in particular to move around with cash.
“The Point of Sale machines which we have introduced at Beitbridge Border Post accept both ZimSwitch and international cards such as Visa and MasterCard, which makes it more convenient for our valued clients.
“Using online systems or the banking system to make duty and tax payments has advantages and provides greater convenience over bringing cash to Zimra offices in a number of ways.
“For instance, clients with Internet banking facilities can transfer funds to Zimra anytime (24 hours a day) from anywhere through their banks and they will be issued with instant receipts,” she said.
Ms Jambwa said they would soon be sending more swiping machines at Beitbridge Border Post to ensure efficiency and would also upscale the information dissemination through all print and electronic media available, including Facebook, Twitter and their website.
She said the new Zero Cash Office would ensure convenience for their clients and promote the use of “plastic money’” which essentially implies 24-hour banking service for them.
“In addition, clients can use Internet banking which is not time-bound. The swiping machines are usable by clients on ZimSwitch, Visa and MasterCard platforms. Therefore, all clients who have ZimSwitch, Visa and/or MasterCard swipe cards should be able to transact with Zimra,” said Ms Jambwa.