THE Affirmative Action Group (AAG) is lobbying the government to temporarily exempt struggling companies from remitting some taxes in a move officials say will bring relief to the ailing industries in Bulawayo.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business yesterday, AAG national vice-president Sam Ncube said they would soon be submitting a proposal to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa pleading for the temporary exemption of struggling firms from remitting sales taxes and Pay As You Earn, among other statutory obligations to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra)in a bid to cushion the already collapsing industry, especially in Bulawayo.
“We are meeting next week as the executive council to come up with a position paper and then approach the Ministry of Finance with a proposal for a moratorium for some companies which have for years been failing to meet their statutory obligations regarding remitting taxes to Zimra,” Ncube said.
“Such companies cannot renew their tax clearance certificates and without a temporary.
AAG has been lobbying the government and local authorities on a moratorium since dollarisation with officials saying most companies were in the doldrums. A temporary relief would give them space to recover, it argued.
The business lobby group is expected this year also to appoint a 20-member economic council constituting of Bulawayo business executives as it continues with its search for solutions to the city’s industrial stagnation and economic collapse.
The AAG is expected to finalise the appointment of an economic council to be drawn from the different sectors of the economy.
The business lobby group said while there was need for the manufacturing industry to be revived countrywide, Bulawayo was a special case and the economic council would play a critical role in coming up with an implementation strategy in addressing the plethora of challenges besetting the city.
Close to 100 companies shut down between 2012 and last year. The few surviving firms are presently saddled with huge debts and battling with low capacity utilisation largely due to antiquated machinery and lack of working capital against high labour costs.