Source: Finance, Appropriation Bills sail through Senate | The Herald February 13, 2017
Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
The Finance and Appropriation Bills will promote foreign direct investment and close all loopholes that were undermining revenue collection, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. The Finance and Appropriation Bills sailed through the Senate on Wednesday and Thursday last week, respectively. They now await Presidential assent before they become law.
Minister Chinamasa said measures in the Bills were also aimed at improving administrative efficiency and minimising tax fraud. “My hope is that we can, by 2019, have reduced the wage expenditure as a proportion of revenue from the current 90 percent and above to about 50 or 55 percent,” he said.
“That will give me room, fiscal space to spend on operations and also to spend on capital formation. And, this is where we can create real jobs, improving service delivery, doing our roads and doing our irrigation schemes. That is where the real production will come from, not just paying people and we have no money for them to pay for operations,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Minister Chinamasa said the Finance Bill sought to provide tax relief to tax payers, particularly small and medium enterprises and players in the informal sector, enhance revenue collection through enactment of anti-avoidance measures and widespread use of information technology in tax administration.
The Bill also seeks to mobilise additional revenue to fund critical sectors of the economy, as well as strengthening initiatives towards promoting good corporate governance. Clause 3 of the Appropriation Bill charges the consolidated revenue fund with a sum of over $3 million, which relates to the 2017 vote appropriations.
Section 5 (2) of the Bill allows the discretion of Minister Chinamasa to transfer funds from the unallocated reserve, which appears on the ministry’s vote, to any other vote as and when the need arises to meet inescapable expenditures.
The Minister can vary the amounts so transferred by taking back any surplus for reallocation to other ministries to meet demands that may arise. During debate, Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava commended the Bill, saying it will plug leakages of the national income which have been taken through dirty hands and corrupt tendencies.
Manicaland Senator David Chimhini called for policy consistencies.