Harare - Zimbabwe's tax authority is now giving through-the-country escorts to fuel tankers to stop unscrupulous firms offloading petrol without paying duty for it, a newspaper says.
Tankers arriving in the eastern border city of Mutare are now being escorted by ZIMRA all the way to the Zambian or Botswana borders if they don't pay duty to bring in their fuel for sale in Zimbabwe, says the Manica Post.
That's after it was discovered that some drivers were secretly offloading fuel in Zimbabwe and refilling their tanks with water to exit the country, says the paper.
Four fuel tankers filled with water were intercepted at the Chirundu border post, the official Herald reported in February. Their drivers had allegedly declared that they were on their way to the DRC and so had not paid duty at the border, the report says.
ZIMRA charges $19 500 per 60 000 litre fuel truck.
"Since we started this exercise, our revenues have improved significantly," a ZIMRA officer told the Manica Post.
Trucks that don't pay duty at the border are already sealed by ZIMRA but it appears that the seals can be tampered with.
Zimbabwe's desperate-for-cash revenue authority is finding new ways to raise taxes. There was outrage on Saturday when it emerged that ZIMRA had imposed a new 10% tax on tobacco farmers without tax clearance certificates. Joseph Made, Zimbabwe's agriculture minister, told the official Herald daily that the measure was "not fair on the country's main foreign currency earners."