The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says it will aggressively seek out arrears from free riders following a 4% increase in gross revenue collections to $264,79 million in January.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Speaking at the Zimra Media Workshop in Harare yesterday, Zimra acting commissioner general, Happias Kuzvinzwa said strategies in improving electronic services, electronic cargo tracking, and widening fiscalisation improved gross and net revenue collections.
“The authority collected gross and net revenue amounting to $264,79 million and $262,21 million respectively, against a target of $254,10 million, which translates to a growth in net revenue of over 13% when compared to the $232,01 million which was collected during the same period last year,” he said.
“These strategies that Zimra implemented are beginning to bear fruit and our January 2017 revenue collection figures are a testimony to the positive trajectory. It is critical and important that you (media) take taxation to the people, so that they appreciate that paying taxes is an investment into the Zimbabwean society. We have a lot of free riders in the economy who are not contributing. We want to get rid of free riders.”
Efforts to step up revenue collections are meant to plug leakages.
In 2016, annual gross collections amounted to $3,462 billion, which was 96% of the targeted $3, 607 billion while net collections amounted to $3,248 billion which was 91,05% of the target.
As such, fiscalisation has been extended to all value-added tax registered operators and the electronic cargo tracking system is expected to curb smuggling. Zimra has also created a whistle-blower facility aimed at stomping out corruption, among other revenue enhancing measures.
The authority has dangled a 10% carrot of any recovered amount to individuals who report corrupt persons under the whistle-blower facility.
“When you travel abroad to Europe and well-developed countries, not paying taxes is a criminal offence because they say that you are not patriotic. Taxation or taxes are used to fund government, if we do not fund government who will fund it,” he said.
Kuzvinzwa said for now the authority was merely garnishing accounts of non-compliant tax payers, but might at some future date copy practices in developed countries.
“To play catch me games with the authority is not good. But let me assure you those who play cat and mouse or catch me games that sooner or later the arms of the law will catch up with them,” he said.