Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has recorded $1.1 billion first quarter 2018 gross revenue collections, above target by 8 percent and higher than $862 million recorded in the same period last year.
The impressive performance is attributed to a combination of improved enforcement measures and stakeholder engagement initiatives, Zimra board chair, Mrs Willia Bonyongwe, said.
In a revenue performance report for the period issued yesterday, the board chair said more positive prospects await the country under the new political dispensation, which has ushered in improved economic reforms evidenced by growing investor confidence and strengthening of domestic production.
“Gross and net collections for the first quarter of 2018 surpassed the set targets and also improved from last year’s collections for the same period. Gross collections were 8.1 percent above the target of $1.029 billion, with collections amounting to $1.113 billion,” said Mrs Bonyongwe.
She said the positive trend was expected to accelerate in the second quarter of 2018, riding on enforcement measures being implemented by the tax authority, particularly the enhanced effective use of the automation programme. Mrs Bonyongwe said Zimra has embraced new business ethos in line with the new Government thrust of opening Zimbabwe for business by adopting robust revenue enhancement strategies, automation and the fight against corruption.
The tax collector recently increased stakeholder engagements with sector specific approaches and partnership educational initiatives. It has also come up with a whistle-blower facility, a hotline and lifestyle audits among other anti-corruption strategies. Other initiatives include risk-based audits and investigations as well as close monitoring and follow-ups on outstanding payments, electronic cargo tracking, fiscalisation, electronic service platforms and ASYCUDA system upgrade.
As such, Mrs Bonyongwe said net revenue collections improved by 27.9 percent to $1.058 million from $826 million realised in the first quarter of 2017. This was after refunds deductions of $55.19 million, which the board chair said were of major concern and said investigations were being undertaken to deal with the matter.
Refunds for the quarter consisted on VAT ($54.25 million), customs duty ($0.139 million) as well as rummage and other refunds valued at $0.80 million.
According to the report, major contributors to revenue were; excise duty at 21 percent, net VAT on local sales at 19 percent and individual tax at 18 percent.
“The positive revenue performance is attributed to the authority’s efforts in revenue enhancing projects and debt follow-ups, a resolute stance on corruption as well as increased use of electronic and mobile money in transacting,” said Mrs Bonyongwe.
She, however, said high debt continues to downplay the authority’s efforts with the year 2018 starting with a debt of $3.9 billion, which has since increased by 7.2 percent to $4.2 billion by March 31, 2018.
Overally, the report shows that all revenue heads recorded improved performance from the same period last year with significant increased growth recorded on withholding tax on contracts at 117.00 percent, excise duty at 55.25 percent, carbon tax 45.1 percent and VAT on imports at 43.95 percent.
“The intensive implementation of revenue enhancement measures by the authority, including the increased use of technology ensured stable revenue inflows and reduced revenue leakages,” said the board chair.