By Kuda Chideme, HARARE July 22 (The Source)- Courier firms operating in Zimbabwe say illegal cross border runners are dominating the courier business and the country could be losing millions of dollars in untaxed informal transactions.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Monday, representatives of several courier companies said that thousands of parcels are sent via the unregistered couriers who are locally referred to as “malaicha.”
“Most of the people who are involved in smuggling are the ‘malaichas’ who are not licensed. As licensed operators we do not promote the smuggling, evasion of duties and transportation of dangerous goods thereby promoting the fiscus,” said Courier Connect internal auditor Shepherd Musonza.
DHL Zimbabwe managing director Jeff Phiri said clients turn to the illegal couriers who can bypass most of the border processes which usually take time.
“One of our challenges is the CD1 (customs declaration) forms, export control forms, that we need to complete. The voice of the customer is very clear that they are finding it cumbersome to wait to process the CD1 forms, It can take anything from two days to a month while they are waiting but the world right now cannot wait,” he said.
“People just go to the runners because they are convenient and quick.”
FedEx managing director Steve Mannion said registered courier operators had witnessed a decline in business in the past years because of the illegal operators.
“A lot of our clients are actually going through the informal channel, deploying runners to South Africa and that has had an impact on our business,” he said.
“Over the last two or three years we have seen a much more significant use of these sort of channels. ”