The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is a strategic entity to Zimbabwe’s attainment of Vision 2030 and must lead development and implementation of innovative domestic resource mobilisation strategies that will help transform the country into an upper and middle-income economy, Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development George Guvamatanga has said.
Economic development is at the centre of Zimbabwe’s new political dispensation with the key goal being transformation of the southern African country into an upper middle-income economy with a capita gross income of between $3 500 and $5 000 by 2030.
Another important aspect is to undertake reforms to unlock the potential of public enterprises to effectively contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Zimra is central to all this and is expected to play a key role in making sure that the country is able to achieve the objectives as set out under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), by making sure that adequate resources are mobilised to finance Zimbabwe’s huge infrastructure gap, Mr Guvamatanga said in his remarks at Zimra’s 2019-2023 Strategic Planning Stakeholder Consultative Workshop held last week.
The TSP is Government’s latest fiscal reform policy document that spells out the path that Zimbabwe is set to take between October 2018 – December 2020 and Treasury’s expectation is that Zimra’s strategies will result in increased domestic resource mobilisation, which is key to support Government’s recurrent and capital expenditures.
“It is my expectation that Zimra will play its part in making sure that we are able to achieve the objectives as set out under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, by making sure that adequate resources are mobilised to finance our huge infrastructure gap,” he said.
Mr Guvamatanga said the challenges we face as a country require that we all play our part and contribute to domestic revenue mobilisation.
No country has developed fully by just depending on borrowing or donations, therefore, Mr Guvamatanga said, it is important that Zimra widen the tax base by bringing in new taxpayers onto the tax register, which will go a long way in assisting Government in reducing its budget deficit.
“It is important that Zimra deepen revenue collection through improved voluntary compliance. This will be achieved through co-operative compliance programmes and efficient risk-based audits and tightened compliance enforcement strategies.
He said Government also expected Zimra to play a critical role in improving the ease of doing business in the country by facilitating legitimate trade and travel.
This is in addition to assisting Government in developing simplified tax laws and administration processes that bring more convenience to the Zimbabwean taxpayer.
“Adoption and implementation of prudent fiscal and complementary monetary policies will anchor return of investor confidence lost over the past two decades, stabilising the macro-economic environment, which is conducive for opening up to more business,” he said.
Mr Guvamatanga noted while it is important for Zimra to develop and implement strategies to grow revenue, it is also equally important to develop and implement strategies to plug revenue leakages.
He said the TSP is explicit on the need to plug revenue leakages through the eradication of corruption; illicit financial flows; tax evasion and avoidance practices; smuggling and money laundering; unethical procurement practices.
He added that the country’s debt position speaks to low levels of tax compliance in the country. The current challenges require that Zimra also bring in the much needed revenue in the short term by widening the tax base and improving compliance levels, said Mr Guvamatanga.
On its part, Government is undertaking significant reforms, especially on the ease of doing business front, thereby improving the country’s competitiveness, and opening the country to international investors and financiers.