By Tinashe Kairiza
ZIMBABWE, which is losing a staggering
US$3 billion annually as a result of rampant corruption, recovered $1,9 billion during the first quarter of 2020 that could have been lost through leakages,a report by revenue authorities shows.
Bold steps have been taken by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to plug massive resource leakages and curtail sleaze following disclosures by the country’s anti-corruption body that the country is being prejudiced of $3 billion every year by cartels and graft.
The bulk of the pilfered resources are spirited away and stashed in foreign jurisdictions with friendly tax laws such as South Africa, Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom (UK).
Currently, Zimra and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission are trying to repatriate looted resources from a number of tax havens around the world.
According to Zimra’s 2020 quarterly revenue performance report, the taxman recovered much of the resources as a result of a combination of strategies that included tightening anti-smuggling systems and comprehensive audits.
The report indicates that
US$1,9 billion was recovered through curtailing smuggling while a further US$84 million was recouped from robust audit trails.
The recoveries followed revelations that anti-graft bodies were investigating the potential loss of US$1 billion over the past decade as a result of the smuggling of haulage trucks and goods from Zimbabwe and into the region.
In the report on the authority’s performance for the 2020 quarter, Zimra board deputy chairperson Josephine Matambo said a range of measures were introduced to curtail revenue leakages.
“The authority is intensifying efforts to plug revenue leakages through closing of smuggling loopholes, analysing suppliers and IMMT returns,” Matambo said.
“The authority worked on risk based projects to plug revenue leakages during the quarter.
“The projects include anti-smuggling, verification of suppliers’ compliance and the IMTT.
“On the anti-smuggling project, the authority carries out various post importation audits to verify the accuracy of the declarations made…’’
During the period under review, revenue collections surged by 10.42% to $13, 88 billion against the set target of $12, 57 billion.
The authority raked $1,9 billion during the same comparative period last year.
Individual tax remittances amounted to 17%, companies and Value Added Tax (Vat) on local sales weighed in by 14% while Vat on imported goods stood at 11%.
With cumulative annual revenue collections projected to dip as a result of the raging coronavirus that will see the global economy shrink by 3%, Zimra highlighted that a raft of measures would be rolled out to boost collections.
Zimbabwe’s economy, buffeted by severe economic headwinds that include recurrency volatility, prolonged power cuts and widespread company closures is seen contracting by 7,4% as the devastating effects of coronavirus which causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease become more pronounced.
By year end, Atlas Mara forecasts inflation, currently hovering around 600% to gallop to 1000% due to Covid-19 induced pressures.