The Bank of Zambia (BOZ) has revealed that the country experienced illicit financial flows amounting to an estimated $8.8 billion between 2010 and 2012.
The Global Financial Integrity report highlighted that these financial outflows were predominantly attributed to the extractive industry, tax evasion, abusive transfer pricing, and environmental crimes.
During the 17th BOZ media seminar in Siavonga, Angela Chileshe, the BOZ Assistant Director for Data Management, shared that the illicit financial flows occurred before the establishment of trade laws.
Collaborating with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), the bank has since introduced laws compelling exporters to adhere to trade regulations.
Chileshe elaborated on the implementation of a computerized customs system, ASYCUDAWORLD, established in 2019 with the support of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
This web-based system enables exporters to manage manifest and customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit, and suspense procedures. Currently operational in over 70 countries, including Zambia, the system aims to enhance transparency and streamline trade data transactions.
In an interview, Laban Simbeye, the Acting Director Executive Support at Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), clarified that before 2019, the absence of laws enforcing specific trade requirements led to varying documentation.
This discrepancy resulted in goods leaving the country being labeled as illegal, as reported by the Global Financial Integrity.
Mr. Simbeye expressed optimism about the positive impact of the computerized system, emphasizing that it will ensure adherence to trade laws, legitimize earnings, and prevent Zambia from being perceived as a conduit for illegal financial flows.