Finance minister Tendai Biti has urged businesses operating in Zimbabwe to embrace electronic fiscalised registers, saying the automation would tighten their internal financial controls and enhance corporate accountability, apart from boosting taxation efficiency.
By October 1, retailers and non-retailers registered by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) under category C are expected to have acquired and installed electronic fiscalised machines and electronic signature devices, respectively.
Category C covers operators notching at least $240 000 in annual sales.
“The devices will improve internal accountability. So they are your machines,” Biti said, citing Kenya, Poland and Tanzania as success stories.
Biti said this in response to concerns by retailers over compliance costs.
Retailers argue that Zimra should provide the equipment, as it only enhances its capacity to police businesses.
Under the arrangement approved by government, operators should acquire and install the equipment and then claim 50% of the costs of acquisition from Zimra through tax (VAT) payments returns.
Denford Mberi, the Retailers, Association of Zimbabwe chairman, asserts the arrangement does not consider costs related to system adaptation, installation, storage, transportation and many others.
Noting the concern, Biti, however said tax-payers would also benefits from taxation efficiency in terms of improved infrastructure and social services.
He said many retailers and other businesses were prejudicing the government in many ways, including “a deliberate failure to levy VAT, keeping various books for tax evasion purposes and the use of fraudulent invoices for input VAT”.
Treasury and its tax collection agency on Thursday officially launched the electronic cash registers in Harare and unveiled two firms that have been licensed to supply the electronic cash registers. The suppliers are Axis Solutions and First Computers and both are indigenous companies. The licensed dealers have engaged two Bulgarian producers and dealers to supply the equipment, which would be integrated to point of sale machines.
The electronic signature device is installed as a system and its components include a PC, a server and fiscalised invoice printer, while an electronic cash register comprises a fiscalised receipt printer with a read-only fiscalised memory, which records and stores data for up to six years. The electronic fiscalised machine is GPRS-enabled and this enables it to capture transactions simultaneously as they occur, transmitting the data to Zimra at one blow.
The electronic signature device scans invoices generated from accounting applications such as pastel and converts them into an algorithm using the harsh key to secure the data from amendments. The information is transmitted to Zimra in harshed from. A decoding software installed at the Zimra end will then recreate the data on the invoice for tax purposes. Both cash registers are protected by a number of security features, which include a seal, memory bonded to the casing of the printer, alerts and reports of every count of intervention.