GOVENRMENT has introduced a tax management system that will limit interactions between Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials and taxpayers, as part of measures to stem corruption.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This came as Zimra yesterday launched an Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) to monitor the movement of transit cargo in order to curb smuggling that is costing an average of $1 billion in annual revenue to government.
Speaking in Harare at Zimra’s official launch of the ECTS system, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the tax management system and the ECTS system, among other measures, would curb corruption.
“We are working on a tax management system to minimise direct contact will between Zimra officials and taxpayers.
If we can remove that personal interface, it will help make our lives a lot easier. But I also understand that those officials that are steeped in corruption will not want this system because it will minimise their gains, unlawful gains, so as we implement we expect resistance from within and must be on guard,” Chinamasa said.
“Let me hasten to say that government is aware of some of the shenanigans that our people continue to devise in order to evade tax. My message to all these perpetrators of transit fraud, corrupt activities, and fraudulent value added tax refunds, I want to say to you the net is slowly closing on you. It is high time that you move away from your wayward behaviour, because government will continue to implement pragmatic initiatives to deal with such.”
He said corruption at the country’s border posts remained a major challenge and was on the rise as government continued to grapple with it blaming the private sector for fuelling the rot.
Zimra officials have been cited on many occasions by the revenue collector board as being part of the massive transit smuggling that takes place.
These officials were being roped in through accepting bribes to look the other way when goods that are not the same as what is on the supporting documents like invoices and other relevant documents come to the border.
As such, the Zimra board early last year initiated a lifestyle enquiry into employees of the authority to try and weed corrupt officials out.
Transit smuggling and corruption is especially taking place at the Beitbridge border post followed by the Forbes, Chirundu, and National Oil Infrastructure Company entry points.
Zimra Board chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said those Zimra officials involved in the transit smuggling would face the full wrath of the law.
She said the ECTS system was introduced as they noticed a rise in fuel smuggling.
The ECTS system comes as a master and slave device which will be put on every truck getting into the country to track it. The master device is directly connected to the Zimra server while the slave device is connected to the master.
Each truck will be required to travel with the master device, while the slave device will be put depending on the size of the vehicle.
Currently, there are 430 master, 1 300 slave and 887 break bulk sealing devices.
In Zimra’s 2017 first quarter results, gross collections were 6,09% above the target at $862,47 million from $812,94 million.
Zimra reported the upward trend was as a result of a “battery of revenue enhancement measures” implemented by the authority which included automation, greater enforcement and the fight against corruption.