Long range drones for border surveillance

18 Mar, 2022 - 00:03 0 Views
Long range drones for border surveillance The long range drones can operate during the day and at night

The ManicaPost

 

Cletus Mushanawani
News Editor

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is in the process of acquiring long range drones that will cover a distance of 200km to monitor the country’s porous borders as the fight against smuggling and corruption moves a gear up, it has been established.

This comes at a time when the country was losing millions of dollars in potential revenue owing to the smuggling of goods through official borders and un-designated points.

Manicaland has a vast borderline with Mozambique which stretches from Nyanga to Chipinge where there are a number of un-designated entry points that are used for smuggling.

A huge volume of goods such as clothing items, footwear, fuel, restricted or controlled goods, electrical items, alcoholic beverages, motor vehicles, wildlife, minerals, tobacco products and many others are smuggled into or out of the country using both the designated and un-designated crossing points, resulting in substantial loss of revenue to the Government.

Speaking during a plenary session at a breakfast meeting organised by the tax authority at a local hotel yesterday (Thursday) under the theme I’MFORZERO: Say NO To Corruption: Say YES to Integrity, ZIMRA Acting Commissioner for Customs and Excise, Mr Adrian Swarres said they are acquiring drones that can operate during the day and night.

“As we intensify efforts to curb smuggling and corruption, we are looking at procuring drones that are able to fly at night. There are two types of drones that we will acquire, the long range drones which have a capacity to travel in one direction up to 200km and are able to come back and land safely and those operated at ports of entry.

“The long range drones can operate during the day and at night. They will be monitored from control rooms, both at the border and Harare. We are also looking at procuring drones that will be used at border posts to assist in curbing smuggling at these port of entries. They will also assist management in monitoring movements and operations at the borders. These drones will also shoot videos,” said Mr Swarres.

With smuggling of second-hand clothing causing serious headaches for law enforcement agents in the province, Mr Swarres said all stakeholders should work together to ensure that bales of second-hand clothes do not find their way to the country’s markets.

“To import second-hand clothes, you need an import licence from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce since they are restricted goods. From my discussion with colleagues from that ministry, they have told me that those licences are not being issued, “ said Mr Swarres.

Officer Commanding Manicaland Police (Operations), Assistant Commissioner Johannes Chinembiri Gowo called for drastic measures like the burning of all seized bales of the second hand clothing.

Said Assistant Commissioner Gowo: “Cases of smuggling of second-hand clothing are worrisome and there should be deterrent measures in place. All recovered and seized bales of second-hand clothing should be burnt to deter this vice. The current situation where the clothing is not being destroyed is not deterrent enough.”

Seized bales of second-hand clothing are forfeited to ZIMRA and disposed through public auctions.

Speaking during the same meeting, ZIMRA’s acting Commissioner-General, Mrs Regina Chinamasa said corruption and tax evasion is threatening the country’s economy and the quality of people’s lives.

“Corruption breeds and sustains underdevelopment if left unchecked and we need to put an end to all such vices. Eradicating corruption is therefore a collective feat given its retrogressive impact on the economy.

“Given our strategic location in the region, it is our pledge as ZIMRA not to allow Zimbabwe to be the final destination or transit of smuggled goods,” said Mrs Chinamasa.

She called for an inclusive approach in fighting corruption.

“Corruption makes our products less competitive on the international market. It also erodes investor confidence. Constant intervention by all of us is therefore critical to build our nation and by extension the region. Let us all work towards building a corruption-free society.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to join in the fight and it starts with resisting, rejecting and reporting corruption; not only in words, but in action. Let us all embrace the fight against corruption and bring more ideas on how to win the fight.

“We believe your insights and unique perspectives are a critical cog in helping to address the challenges we face daily under our administrative function,” said Mrs Chinamasa.

 

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