…As ZRA loses K30 million annually through fish smuggling at Katima Mulilo border
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) is losing K30 million annually due to smuggling of fish at the Katima Mulilo border post in Sesheke district of Western Province, says Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia (ADAZ) chairperson Fisho Mwale.
Mr Mwale said because of corrupt activities at the border a lot of fish was being smuggled into Zambia from Namibia.
This came to light when ADAZ commented on the Auditor General’s report on sustainable management of fish resources in natural waters.
“Fish smuggling at the Katima Mulilo border post is a scourge which is growing and it is seriously impacting on the growth of the fishing industry.
“We are very worried about this and it is impacting very negatively on the industry and unless Government steps in it will affect the food industry in the fish sector,” he said.
He said importers were trading under multiple companies and importing under different names to avoid the law.
Mr Mwale said destination fraud was taking place at the border post and that documents abdicated final destination as the DR Congo when in fact trucks were seen offloading in Zambia.
He said that ADAZ conducted an investigative study which showed that ZRA was losing revenue of about K30 million annually due to smuggling.
“The figures are mind-bobbling. We have done an investigative study of how much is coming in and how much ZRA is losing, which is K30 million.
“There is blatant corruption taking place at our borders especially Katima Mulilo; you will observe a line of trucks coming in from Namibia filled with boxes of tilapia,” he said.
Mr Mwale said the smuggling was depressing the fish market of legal importers of tilapia and the legal producers of fish while affecting the subsistence farmers in the industry.
He said unless the regulatory and inspectorate took immediate exceptional measures, the fish industry would collapse before it even took off.
He also said the smuggling meant that those investing in the sector were not getting their returns.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwale demanded the setting up of a task force involving the Anti-C0rruption Commission, ZRA, ADAZ and Department of Fisheries to wipe out the Katima Mulilo smuggling.