Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has fired the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board with immediate effect, and a new board is expected soon, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
Zimra management will, in the meantime, report directly to Treasury. Prof Ncube said this yesterday in Harare while announcing a raft of fiscal measures aimed at reversing fiscal dis-equilibrium.
“In order to enhance governance at Zimra, I hereby terminate the term of the current board with immediate effect,” said Prof Ncube.
“I have proposed names of new board members which are currently being cleared. The new board will be announced in due course. In the meantime, Zimra senior management will be reporting directly to Treasury.”
Zimra senior management has since been directed to cease all recruitment of new personnel until a new board has been put in place. The move is designed to allow the new board to have input into critical appointments once it has been put in place.
The Zimra board had 10 members.
Mrs Willia Bonyongwe was the Zimra board chair while her deputy was Mr Percy Toriro. They were appointed on June 26, 2015.
The fired board members term had expired but were reportedly seeking an extension, which Government decided against granting to allow new brooms at the key institution to broaden revenue generation. Last year, Zimra board members made rich pickings from fees and allowances after raking in a combined $292 582, representing a 9 percent rise from the prior year.
In 2016, Zimra board members were paid $268 225 in board fees and allowances but the figure jumped to $292 582, mainly due to a series of meetings held by the board and committees following developments that took place after the forensic audits.
The board said several meetings were held to deal with the issues that had arisen from the forensic audit findings as well as recruitments that then followed after some executive managers were either dismissed or resigned in 2017 as a result of forensic audit findings.
Prof Ncube said going forward, Zimra systems will be upgraded and enhanced in order to improve efficiency in revenue collection, especially at border posts.
“Mechanisms will be put in place to eradicate any corrupt activities,” said Prof Ncube.
Zimra has waged a war against corruption, which has recently resulted in the suspension of Mr Charles Jaure, a commissioner responsible for investigations. Mr Jaure is alleged to have been implicated in a case where he demanded a bribe from a whistle-blower who had reportedly exposed irregular financial dealings at a mobile phone company.
Meanwhile, Government has reviewed the intermediated money transfer tax from 5 cents per transaction to 2 cents per dollar transacted, effective October 1, 2018. Treasury introduced the intermediated money transfer tax with effect from January 1, 2003, through the Finance Act 15 of 2002.
The tax was set at 5 cents per transaction, but due to the rise in informalisation of the economy and huge increase in electronic and mobile phone based financial transactions and RTGS transactions, Prof Ncube said it was imperative that tax collection base be expanded. This is aimed at ensuring that tax collection points are aligned with electronic mobile payment transactions and RTGS system.
Prof Ncube said since January to September this year, 1,7 billion transactions went through as compared to 50 million four years ago.
“I am therefore directing financial institutions, banks and Zimra, working together with telecommunication companies to extend the collection to all electronic financial transactions.”