THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) now requires commuter omnibus operators to pay presumptive tax to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) before they can renew their vehicle licences.
The latest move stipulates that an eight to 14-passenger seater kombi has to pay $150 per quarter, a 15 to 24-seater $175 and a 24 to 36-seater $300.
Buses that carry 37 seated passengers and above are required to pay $450 per quarter, which translates to $1 800 annually.
Operators whose vehicles were exempted will have to wait for a decision.
According to a Bulawayo-based Zinara official who declined to be named for professional reasons, with effect from last month, all commuter omnibuses are required to have a Zimra tax clearance before renewing their vehicle licence.
“All kombis with red number plates will be required to produce a presumptive tax certificate from Zimra before paying for a vehicle licence,” said the official.
“Zinara has been running an advert on television to that effect.”
Martin Dlodlo, a commuter operator, said many kombis worked without proper documents and were likely to default should the new move by Zinara be enforced.
“The government will lose a lot of money as these operators have been finding it hard to pay for vehicle licences,” he said.
“Now with a presumptive tax, a lot will abandon the kombi business.
“Many kombi operators do not have documents and with this move, many will be forced to dodge both the vehicle licence and Zimra.
“I think this is a turning point for most of us as we are going to park our vehicles. The government is aware that times are hard for us and decides to squeeze more money from us.”
He added: “I lost my job and the company l worked for gave me a kombi. I have been surviving on carrying passengers and paying the new tax will just put me out of business.”
He said the police took money from them on a daily basis and it had now become difficult for them to survive.
When Southern Eye Business contacted Zinara spokesperson Augustine Moyo, he declined to comment saying he was in Victoria Falls.