HARARE – The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) collected $1, 13 billion in the first quarter of 2018, surpassing its revenue target by 8 percent, an official has said.
The above expected performance was testimony to an improving operating environment and contribution of the automation of services by the tax collector, board chairperson, Willia Bonyongwe said.
In the first quarter of 2017, Zimra collected $862 million. Bonyongwe however sounded alarm bells on the mounting unpaid tax dues, which increased by $284 million during the quarter to $4, 23 billion.
“Despite the positive performance (in collections), high debt continues to downplay the authority’s efforts to enhance revenue collections,” she said.
“High level discussions are on-going for public enterprises debt and for set-offs where government owes the private sector.”
Zimra is the biggest source of government revenue for its day to day functions.
Bonyogwe said the debt was likely to go up given on-going tax audits by Zimra while urging taxpayers to take advantage of the tax amnesty, which expires at the end of June.
“Tax payers should take hid of the amnesty because then, they will not pay the penalty and the interest component as per legislation,” she said.
During the period, value added tax, excise duty and individual tax remained the biggest contributors to revenues.
Bonyongwe said the authority would continue to forge ahead with implementation of fiscalisation and automation of its systems.
“Information Communication Technology is the driver of revenue collection and it is necessary that Zimra gets adequate resources to complete its processes,” she said.
The fight against corruption and automation were also critical in widening the tax base, she said.
During its tenure, which expires at the end of June, the Bonyongwe chaired Zimra board has seen through the launch of the cargo tracking system, upgrading of the authority’s core system known as ASYCUDA and enhanced use of the e-service system. – New Ziana