THE recent increase in smuggling activities revealed by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) are unacceptable and depressing.
Just during the course of this week, the ZRA has recorded two highly-organised smuggling activities which included a fuel and alcoholic beverages, each truck carrying goods worth over K1 million.
Such actions are dangerous for the economy and for the Zambian citizens as Government’s revenue basket is negatively affected. This is depressing especially that the country is set to collect less revenue this year due to Covid-19.
Because smuggling is not regulated and outside of the government’s tax net which can lead to a loss of revenue.
Smuggling generates huge profits, most of which goes back to the crime syndicate to fun more illegal activity. This creates a rise in crime and can affect tourism, amongst other things.
The evasion of tax and duties on smuggled goods inevitably mean a loss of tax revenue for the government – which eventually reduces their ability to develop and progress as a state or country.
While legitimate businesses pay a series of taxes on the goods they produce, smuggling bypasses these taxes which slowly destroys the local economy.
When smuggling overtakes a functioning economy, it creates instability. This then discourages business and investments from coming into the area.
For these reasons, and others besides, smuggling is highly illegal and results in fines and lengthy prison sentences.
It is therefore gratifying to learn that ZRA has put in place stringent tax system which will continue to capture smugglers.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager, Topsy Sikalinda, said the authority is back with serious sophisticated ways of monitoring all imports and exports with the aim of curtailing all forms of smuggling in the country.
Mr Sikalinda warned that ZRA had been working round the clock signing Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with its sister revenue authorities in the region for information exchange.
“Smugglers will not have it easy this time around as we will continue to seize and donate publicly both the goods and vessels used in smuggling,” Mr Sikalinda told the media yesterday in Lusaka.
Smuggling creates a black economy which is out of the government’s tax net and regulators net. This can lead to loss of revenue to the government.
It hurts the domestic industry and can be a doom to local industry .Localindustry goods has variety of taxes imposed on them. Smuggling bypasses these taxes leading to the destruction of local industry.
It is for such reasons that no one should tolerant or facilitate for these smuggling activities. It is saddening that the officers trusted to ensure such activities do not take place are the ones facilitating the activities.
Take for example the three ZRA officers who were arrested this week for abuse of power and the agent whose license as even suspended for taking part in smuggling activities.
These are people who should be in the forefront but it is depressing that they are instead the ones facilitating these activities. It is everyone’s duty to fight smuggling activities as they are destroying the economy.