GOVERNMENT should fully automate its systems in order to fight corruption in Zimbabwe, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) director general Eve Gadzikwa has said.
Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Business Ethics Symposium in Harare, Gadzikwa said corruption was currently thriving due to slow processing of transactions in some government ministries, like the passport office.
“If the government willfully automates its systems, it will reduce corruption,” Gadzikwa said.
Also speaking at the same symposium, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Geshem Pasi said there is need for partnership between government and the private sector, and also partnership between various organisations in society in order to control corruption.
Pasi said Zimra has introduced the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to curb corruption.
“We have gone to the use of technology in a big way, to ensure data integrity and prevent fraud and errors and human interactions,” Pasi said.
He said Zimra has put in place new systems like the self-assessment systems, scanners, electronic banking and electronic payment of duties and taxes, among many others to reduce corruption.
“In the next 18 months from now, we will be seeing a transformed revenue authority,” Pasi said.
In his keynote address at the same event, deputy minister of Finance and Economic Development Samuel Undenge said government has committed itself to fight corruption as a prerequisite for sustainable economic growth and development.
Undenge said globally, corruption has been identified as one of the key elements that have stalled development in most economies.
“The effects of corruption are not only economic. Corruption undermines the rule of law and affects political stability, while also sustaining inequality, hindering social cohesion,” Undenge said.
“Zimbabwe, like most countries, has not been spared from the negative consequences of corruption. Corruption has become endemic within the country’s political, private and public sectors.”
According to the African Development Bank and a US-based think tank, Global Financial Integrity, Zimbabwe has lost a cumulative $12 billion between 1980 and 2010 through illegal financial outflows ranging from secret financial deals, tax avoidance and illegal commercial activities.
Undenge said Zimbabwe ranks 163 out of 176 countries in 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 2,0 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) and this marks an increase in corruption since 1999 , when the country scored 4,1.
He said the detrimental effects of corruption in Zimbabwe remain a cause of concern for government.
“Corruption has a negative impact on the level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), investment activity, international trade and price stability,” Undenge said.
Undenge said Corruption had contributed to low investment levels in the country as it has increased the cost of doing business.