BY STAFF REPORTER
TREASURY has been urged to give the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) powers to retain a portion of the revenue it collects in order to ensure it capacitates itself to improve service delivery.
This was suggested by MPs in the National Assembly before Parliament adjourned last week for the Heroes and Defence Forces Day holidays.
Chairperson of the Finance and Budget Portfolio Committee Mathew Nyashanu urged government to appoint a substantive Zimra commissioner-general, given that it is a strategic revenue collection body.
“The fact that the whole nation is expecting funds from Zimra to finance some budgetary needs means that we need to ensure that this organisation is capacitated to the extent that it is able to provide the much-needed revenue.
“Zimra is said to be exceeding its targets, but we would want Zimra to collect as much as it can and, therefore, it must always be capacitated and be in a position to deliver,” Nyashanu said.
But Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa told Parliament that allowing Zimra to retain a certain portion of the revenue it collects was impossible.
“I wish to advise that the principles of transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public finances require that all State revenue must be collected and remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). In addition, utilisation of such funds — whether recurrent or capital, should be through the Appropriation Act for which Parliament has oversight.
“This will go a long way in minimising opportunities for abuse of public funds as well as corrupt tendencies. Treasury will also ensure that the revenue authority (Zimra) is adequately financed in order to enhance operations. It is important for Parliament to take lead in promoting use of public funds through the Appropriation Act,” Chiduwa said.
He said all government departments that collect revenue were directed to channel it through the CRF.
MPs also suggested that Zimra officials should be well-remunerated in order to avoid cases of graft as they handle billions of dollars.
“Administrative work is being done to make sure due diligence is done before the final letter of appointment of a substantive commissioner-general. Once appointed, together with the board they will come up with improvements of Zimra staff conditions of service,” Chiduwa said.
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