THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has turned to vendors and flea market traders as it goes all out to raise money to ease the liquidity crunch.
Zimra officials reportedly descended on Bulawayo vendors recently advising them to register with the revenue authority to enable them to pay tax and contribute financially to the fiscus.
The development comes days after the government admitted that it could no longer guarantee fixed pay dates for civil servants because of the cash crunch.
Last week, Public Service deputy minster Tongai Muzenda told Senate that government was now issuing undated payslips to civil servants, adding that the new arrangement was set to remain in place for as long as the national cash squeeze lasts.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has also lamented the cash squeeze further compounded by failure to access financial support from other countries, including China.
This has seen Zimra turning on local businesses, tightening the noose on all forms of businesses and imposing garnishee orders on their tax defaulters’ bank accounts to recover tax money.
Dumisani Ncube, secretary of the Bulawayo Upcoming Traders’ Association (BUTA), yesterday confirmed that Zimra had turned on their members.
“We had a meeting recently with the Zimra officials where they were saying our members should be registered and their vending operations formalised so that we pay tax,” he said.
“We are not against paying tax and we thus raised our concerns on this. We are saying most of our members are struggling to even raise a dollar and to tax them is to just burden them and condemn them to suffering.
“The government should first boost or capacitate the vendors so that they are in a position to pay tax just like everyone.
“We are having a follow up meeting next week with Zimra regional managers on this issue and we hope our concerns will be taken on board.”
Reports yesterday said Zimra had failed to meet its revenue target for the first half of the year owing to the current liquidity crunch and company closures, piling pressure on a government that is desperate for money to oil its day to day operations.
Zimra collected $1,72 billion against a target of $1,74 billion, according to Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi.