Zimra engages media on corruption

HARARE - Zimbabwe's national tax collector has hailed the media for exposing corruption and contributing in the formulation of economic solutions.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) acting Commissioner-General, Happias Kuzvinzwa, said his organisation was implementing various strategies to fight corruption, one of the major challenges negatively affecting the economy.

“In 2016, the authority dealt with a total of 57 corruption-related cases,” he said during a media workshop held in the capital this week.

“My encouragement to members of the media fraternity is that you should continue with the good work you are doing in exposing corruption. Please continue to urge the nation to desist from all underhand dealings such as smuggling, tax evasion, use of undesignated crossing points, and any other acts of economic malfeasance,” he added.

Kuzvinzwa noted that the national tax collector’s quest to increase the tax base and enhance revenue collections is not without challenges.

He added that the base erosion and profit shifting, which refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no tax location, was a major challenge facing the African continent.

“Tax evasion, smuggling, corruption, money laundering, transfer pricing and all forms of illicit behaviour have the undesirable effect of derailing economic development in our nation,” he said adding that the prevailing harsh economic conditions also fuel all these vices, and have resulted in some companies accumulating huge debts.

“However, the authority works tirelessly to deal with all these challenges and to close any loopholes. For instance, to fight smuggling, the authority uses scanners, risk profiling and physical examination, post importation audits, border patrols and road blocks in conjunction with law enforcement agencies,” Kuzvinzwa said.

This comes as Zimra continues to engage companies which owe taxes, customs and excise duties to agree on payment plans to liquidate their debts.

The acting Zimra boss said it was important to note that the national tax collector will only use garnishee orders in instances where taxpayers fail to cooperate with the authority in coming up with, and adhering to, payment plans.

He added that automation has helped deal with erosion of the tax base, and it has resulted in more clients being registered on the Zimra system.

“Fiscalisation has seen improved revenues, especially value-added-tax on local sales as clients are finding it difficult to under-declare their sales. We all agree that it is not good for clients to play cat and mouse games with the authority,” he said.

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