The proposal by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi that all government departments that collect revenue should remit it to Treasury should be taken seriously. Speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Economic Development on Monday, Pasi said it was important for all revenue collected by the different government departments to be remitted to Treasury for accountability and smooth allocation to areas of urgent need.
He said money collected by some government departments was difficult to trace because it was not being remitted to Treasury.
Pasi said Zimra was burdened with raising money to fund government operations yet other state agencies were collecting money on behalf of the government but not remitting this money to Treasury. He said employees of the same agencies that were not remitting money to Treasury looked up to Treasury to pay them salaries at the end of each month.
Pasi said it was crucial that all money collected on behalf of the government be surrendered to Treasury which will then allocate it according to priorities. Pasi said a new management of government revenue was needed to ensure accountability and improve inflows.
We cannot agree more with Pasi.
All money collected on behalf of the government should be accounted for and the only way to do that is to ensure every cent collected is surrendered to Treasury whose responsibility is to manage government finances. The present arrangement whereby certain government departments retain money they collect to fund their operations is prone to abuse.
The system also creates an uneven distribution of resources as some government departments do not collect revenue and as such are bound to be disadvantaged.
The government should seriously work on having a Consolidated Revenue Fund as was the case before. This issue of individual departments holding onto government revenue is unacceptable and as already stated it can easily be abused. Pasi said it was difficult to trace revenue collected on behalf of the government if this money is not remitted to Treasury.
What this means is that abuse of funds by government departments can go unnoticed for a long time. Prudent financial management is critical given the limited resources at the government’s disposal. It is also important for Treasury to ensure that once all the revenue is remitted, mechanisms are put in place for timely disbursement of these funds to avoid crippling government operations.
Treasury has in the past been accused of taking long to disburse funds forcing departments to retain revenue collected to fund operations.
We want to once again implore government to revisit the issue of the Consolidated Revenue Fund so that all the money collected on behalf of the government is accounted for.