By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) says the country has not yet started implementing fuel marking owing to lack of funds for the project.
Fuel marking which has been on the cards for a long time now is one of the ways in which government can flush out issues of rampant fuel smuggling which are reportedly depriving the country of import duty and other fuel related taxes.
It is reported that some companies are smuggling fuel into the country and avoiding paying of duty purporting that it is in transit, yet it is eventually offloaded in the country.
Appearing before the Mines and Energy Committee, ZERA acting chief executive Misheck Siyakatshana said the project requires more funds than what is normally allocated to his organisation.
“Fuel marking relates to duty evasion and really the Ministry of Finance and Zimra are the main players in this fuel marking program, we as the authority have put our resources and what we can do and relatively the proposed legislation that could be applied, but the issue has been who will finance it.
“Because we don’t have a budget for it and so really the budget has to come from the Ministry of Finance who are going to reduce the issues of evasion of tax or duty on fuel,” he said.
Siyakatshana added that while his organisation is interested in the fuel marking project, their current mandate is to mainly deal with the issues of quality and price of fuel and to some extent check the source of importation.
“As Zera our mandate is to ensure that the fuel price is right, the fuel price is right and of course that fuel has come through proper channel so we do check fuel quality and us as far as practicable trace the source of the fuel and that fuel must come through the approved channel and that is the only way we can assure that the quality is right.
“We are interested in the project, in fact, we have been pushing for the project but the amount of resources required would require that we get additional resource and support from the Ministry of finance and we have made representations to that effect,” said the Zera boss.
Zimbabwe is reportedly losing millions of dollars in tax revenue owing to the porous borders which have seen unscrupulous people and high ranking government officials smuggling various goods.-ENDS