Zimbabwe: millions lost to smuggling onions and apples

The smuggling of onions and apples from South Africa is depriving the treasury of millions of dollars worth of potential tax revenues.

Fresh Produce Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe vice-chairperson, Godwin Mushori, said most formal businesses in the produce sector were struggling to stay afloat due to serious viability challenges. However, they are faced with shrinking volumes caused by unfair competition from informal traders.

The government has put a 25% surtax on apples and onions to protect the local industry. However, the country does not produce enough apples to satisfy local demand.

According to an article by newsday.co.zw, the 25% surtax has resulted in loss of revenue to the central government because the informal traders do not pay these taxes. Furthermore, the surtax motivates traders to take the risk of smuggling. For instance, an estimated 32,000 tonnes of apples are coming through the border with a value of about $35,2 million.

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