Cargo Scanner Maximizes Revenue Collection at Songwe Border
The introduction of a cargo scanner at Songwe Border in Karonga has tremendously aided increase of monthly revenues collected by the Malawi Revenue Authority as part of tax modernisation drive.
MRA Corporate Affairs director Steve Kapolona told Zodiak Online that a year since the introduction of a cargo scanner at Songwe like in other main border posts, the authority is registering more revenues collected unlike in the past.
"Normally the target for Songwe was K1 billion to K2 billion every month but now we are collecting above K3 billion almost running neck to knock with Mwanza border targets," he said.
According to the tax collecting body, Mwanza was regarded as the biggest border contributing quite substantially far away from.the other borders but a after introducing a scanner Songwe is cripping in little by little almost competing with Mwanza.
Besides facilitating increase in revenues collected, the scanner is touted by bothering MRA and clearing agents as the faster mode of examining goods entering into Malawi.
"The benefits are three fold; security of goods has been boosted, efficiency in examining goods in cargo containers as well as deferring smugglers bringing in substandard goods into the country," explained Kapoloma.
He said a year ago, scanning cargo containers would take a minimum of three days but with the new technology, time being spent is less that an hour.
"We are able to scan at least 10 or more containers in a day unlike in the past thereby reducing congestion at the border," he said.
MRA adopted use of mobile and stationed cargo scanners in the country's main border post which facilitates speedy examination of cargo containers to deal with any discrepancies on tax compliance and efficiency in tax administration.
One of the clearing agents at Songwe border Alufeyo Chipanga commends the technology which has helped in speedy delivery of goods imported into the country.
"At least the time spent doing physical examination on cargo in containers has now been reduced to 10 or 20 minutes per container," he said.
There have cases in the past of unscrupulous importers smuggling into the country substandard and dangerous goods that were hid inside cargo containers.
"Ofcause the cases have now been minimised since the scanners act as a deterrent to such unscrupulous traders," recalls Kapoloma.
Although many importers were sceptical with the introduction of cargo scanners particularly at Songwe, Chipanga says this technology is now being appreciated by many.