PACIFIC Cigarette Company (PCC) chairman Adam Molai has said its tax dispute with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) must be resolved amicably for the good of the country.
PCC recently slipped into voluntary business rescue after a US$19 million and ZWL$80 billion tax bill left the cigarette manufacturer insolvent.
“Would this be in the best interest of the country? I don’t believe the revenue authority would want to do anything that is not in the best interest of the country,” Molai told journalists during an online meeting yesterday. “That is why I said this needs all of us to come to the table to say what is in the best interest of Zimbabwe and find a solution though I feel it’s a stab in the back.”
He said the company has been one of the biggest taxpayers in Zimbabwe.
“I am proud to say that we are in the top segment of taxpayers in the country. I have always had to be very careful because by espousing how much tax we pay, your peers and competitors can work backwards in terms of your production and sales and all of that, which is never the best thing to do, to divulge your internal data to your competitors,” he said.
“But, let me put it this way, it's more than US$3 million a year. That’s what we've been contributing every year for several years and if I look directly in terms of even foreign exchange generation directly from PCC, from inception, it’s over a quarter of a billion dollars. So, directly in terms of even foreign exchange generation from PCC, from inception, it’s over a quarter of a billion dollars so that’s outside of our contributions in terms of contract farming and so on.”
While Molai felt the setback was a “stab in the back”, he said there was a need for the parties to come to a round table to find a solution that is in the best interest of the country and its development.
Molai bemoaned that Zimra had garnished its accounts and went ahead to contact its stakeholders to pay directly to the authority thereby blocking all revenue streams for the company.
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“I think at law, you are given 90 days to which to respond to an assessment objection that has been made and the 90 days has not run its course yet but, in that period, we then had a garnish issued on us which then made operations very difficult,” the PCC boss said.
“But further to the garnish, we then had something which we felt was unprecedented in that normally tax matters are confidential between the taxpayer and the revenue authority, but we had our customers receiving letters from Zimra espousing our own tax assessment and asking them to pay to Zimra any dues to PCC.”