Border posts’ revenue in Zambezi falls

Covid hampers informal trade

23 July 2021 | Economics

Even while the Covid-19 regulations were in force, both Namibian and foreign nationals continued to smuggle goods across the local rivers. - Lawrence Sampofu, Regional governor: Zambezi

Border posts in Zambezi recorded a 26% decrease in revenue during the 2020/21 financial year, regional governor Lawrence Sampofu has said.

Delivering his State of the Region Address this week, Sampofu said the global impact on trade caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had a visible impact on operations at the two main borders in the region.

“The border posts experienced a 26% decrease in revenue collection due to the movement restrictions on informal cross-border trade emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic. The agency collected revenue of N$65 million compared to N$88 million, indicating a significant reduction,” he said.

Import and export declarations, however, increased to 15 889 and 16 010 respectively compared to 13 321 imports and 14 375 exports recorded in the previous financial year.

Sampofu further said joint law enforcement teams conducted 34 operations, roadblocks, and border and river patrols to curb illegal activities and to ensure regulatory compliance.

During the operations, penalties to the value of N$225 000 were collected.

Furthermore, 59 detentions worth N$330 000 and 73 seizures with an approximate value of N$48 000 were recorded.

CHALLENGES

The governor also noted some challenges experienced in the region during the period under review, saying in most cases, the Covid-19 pandemic hindered progress.

Challenges experienced included resistance from community members in settlements to make way for development, particularly at Chinchimane, Sibbinda, Lusese and Sangwali.

“Flood impact in the Kabbe North, South and Katima Mulilo rural constituencies slowed the implementation of projects,” Sampofu said.

He also noted that the porousness of the borderline remains a major contributing factor to revenue leakage and the importing of illicit goods.

“Even while the Covid-19 regulations were in force, both Namibian and foreign nationals continued to smuggle goods across the local rivers, leading to numerous arrests and seizures of goods,” Sampofu stated. - Nampa