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Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

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The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is a government department which is responsible for the collection of state revenue in form of excise duty, customs duty, road tolls, corporate and civil taxes. In addition, it also facilitates trade, offers fiscal advise to the government as well as civil protection to the public.[1] The department is headquartered in Harare and has a number of outposts bases including the country's border posts such as Sango in Matabeleland, Forbes in Manicaland, Chirundu, and Nyamapanda in Mashonaland east province.

Historical Background

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) was established on 19 January 2001 as a successor organisation to the then Department of Taxes and the Department of Customs and Excise following the promulgation of the Revenue Authority Act on February 11, 2000.[2] The Commissioner General, Gershem Pasi, was appointed on May 1, 2001 and ZIMRA became fully functional on September 1, 2001. The first Revenue Board was made up of the following members:

  1. G. M Mandishona (Chairman)
  2. R. V Wilde (Vice Chairman)
  3. T Mangezi
  4. J. A Mushore
  5. P Bhebhe (now deceased)
  6. N Ncube (ex-officio)
  7. Gershem Pasi (Commissioner General - ex-officio).[2]

Growth and Expansion

From the time of its establishment, the organ has grown to become one of the most efficient Zimbabwean government departments especially in the post crisis period from 2008. In an effort to improve its operations, more stations (both permanent and temporary) have been opened nationwide. New border posts have also been opened since 2001 and these include Mphoengs, Sango and Maitengwe while Chirundu is now a one stop border post under the auspices of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).[2]

In 2011, the authority embarked on a drive to upgrade its systems in line with the new information and technology systems. ZIMRA has put in place measures to thwart smuggling which is prejudicing the inflow of revenue and posing health risks to the society.[3] By adopting various strategies that include use of scanners, border patrols, post-importation audits, client awareness programmes, and cargo monitoring; among others, the Authority has made an imprint in fighting underhand dealings.[2] Strides have so far been made in embracing information and communication technology as part of the Authority’s efforts to modernise Tax and Customs operations. The introduction of ASYCUDA World and scanners at some stations to expedite Customs clearance is a case in point.[2]

The authority has also managed to establish an in-house training centre whose goal is to impart skills to our officers. In conjunction with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), ZIMRA set up a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Fiscal Studies and the first batch of graduates is expected before the end of this year. Plans are underway to introduce the masters component for the programme, most likely before the end of the year.[2] Through its advisory role to the Government of Zimbabwe on fiscal matters, various fiscal reforms aimed at broadening the tax base have been successfully introduced and these include Presumptive Tax, Value Added Tax (which replaced Sales Tax) and Self Assessment of Income Tax.

The organisation has also courted the confidence of the Nation and is responsible for collecting Road Tolls, Royalties on Minerals, and has been appointed, by the Motor Insurance Pool of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, as the sole agent for the issuing of Road Traffic Act insurance policies and collecting premiums thereon for all foreign registered vehicles entering Zimbabwe and foreign destined vehicles with effect from March 1, 2010.[2]

In an effort to improve voluntary compliance and recognise compliant clients who pay their taxes on time and consistently, the Authority on 30 September 2011 launched the Taxpayer Appreciation Day which will be celebrated annually. Clients were honoured with awards in various categories including Customs, Excise and Domestic Taxes. Members of staff who have diligently served within ZIMRA for 10 years were also rewarded for their immense contributions.[2]

Social Responsibility

Zimra's drive to be of help to the community saw members of the Internal Audit and Loss Control Division embark on a long journey to Karoi in Mashonaland West in 2014. The organisation visited and gave aid to Just Children Orphanage. In a bid to support the growing number of orphans at the home, the two divisions donated an assortment of goods including bags of maize, beans, washing soap and cooking oil. The donation was part of the ZIMRA Charity Trust Disbursement of Funds programme, which has seen many orphanages around the country benefitting.[4]

Performance

In its 2013 business season, Zimra reported considerable losses. The authority reported that collections amounted to $897,3 million against a target of $904,9 million, resulting in a negative variance of 1%. While total income has marginally missed the target, recurrent expenditure has continued to gobble the trickling revenues, further limiting fiscal space. Value-added tax contributed 32% of the total revenue collected, followed by individual tax (24%), while excise duty was third with a contribution of 15%. Turning to mining royalties, the tax collector reported that third quarter collections stood at $39 million against a target of $63,7 million due to fluctuations in international prices of minerals. The report further stated that royalties from diamonds were negatively affected by the placing of some diamond mining companies under sanctions.[5]

References

  1. , What ZIMRA does, "ZIMRA", retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 , Historical Background, "ZIMRA",retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  3. , Upgrade to customs clearing system causes major disruption at ZIMRA, "Tech Zim", published:14 Dec 2011,retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  4. , ZIMRA donates to Just Children Orphanage, "ZIMRA", retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  5. , Zimbabwe Revenue Authority misses quarterly target, "News Day", published:25 Oct 2013,retrieved:15 Oct 2014"