Zimra trade unions wade into CG selection

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Business Writer
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner General’s post — which was expected to have been filled by November last year — has turned into a massive contest amid speculation that a former revenue commissioner, with international experience, is among the front runners for the top post.

Ex-Zimra staffer Faith Mazani, now regional tax administration advisor at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Swaziland, is reportedly the firm favourite among the revenue authority’s employee trade unions.

Following the exit of former Commissioner General Gershem Pasi last year, the national revenue authority has been interviewing applicants to fill the post.

The position was meant to be filled last year but processes seem to stalled. Zimra chairperson Willia Bonyongwe could neither confirm nor deny the rumour that Zimra employees’ union has waded into the issue.

However, Bonyongwe conceded that Zimra had interviewed some former revenue officers, and declined to divulge any further details on the profile of other candidates.

“We will make an official announcement when we are done with the process.It is inevitable all the candidates we interviewed are former revenue officers, but in the meantime, wait for the announcement; be patient,” said Bonyongwe.

Nonetheless, Business Weekly has gathered information on the desire by trade unions to lobby for Mazani to land the top job.

While a number of candidates submitted applications, reports that Mazani was interested in the influential job has excited the Zimra workers representatives.

Mazani has gained the sympathy of trade unions.

They feel that only a former employee, who appeared concerned by the plight of employees during her time, should get the job and transform the organisation which is reportedly facing challenges dramatised by corruption and abuse of office.

Hefty packages for Zimra honchos have reportedly irked employee representatives, while junior staffers contend with low salaries, which has seen morale hitting rock bottom.

Mazani, seen as a sharp shooter and known for defending what she believes in, is said to have left Zimra due to constant conflicts with Pasi.

It is understood that Pasi was keen to trample employee rights while Mazani argued that staffers’ interests should be put ahead of everything to promote hard work and eliminate chances of corruption.

However, sources close to the selection process say Mazani’s chances of securing the job seem threatened following the alleged intrusion into the selection process by some Zimra board members.

The delays in appointing a substantive office bearer feed into the suspicion that there could be foul play in the selection process.

Favoured by the IMF and World Bank, at a time when the new administration is pursuing reforms in State Enterprises and Parastatals, Mazani appears to have come at the right time.

Frequent engagements between the IMF and World Bank with Government have been on the capacity building front, with the Ministry of Finance receiving funding for structural reforms in key institutions such as Zimra.

Zimra is tasked with finding means for domestic resource mobilisation, plugging leakages in revenue collection and upgrading the organisation’s internal systems and controls.

Zimbabwe’s chances of accessing funds from multilateral creditors are set to be determined by the progress made in institutional reforms, with the tax agency being the greatest factor.

Mazani started her illustrious career in 1983 and served at different levels in tax administration for several years as one of Zimra’s revenue commissioners.Her engagements range from taxes to customs.She led the VAT implementation team in 2004 and coordinated the World Customs Organisation programs for Zimra.

In 2007, Mazani left Zimra to become a senior manager in taxpayer services for the South African Revenue Service (SARS) before joining the Swaziland Revenue Authority as Commissioner VAT/Sales Tax assisting in the setting up of the institution.

One of her most recent posts was regional revenue administration advisor at the IMF in Swaziland.

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