New ZIMRA board draws mixed reactions over Perm Sec Guvamatanga’s inclusion

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By Alois Vinga

THE NEWLY appointed Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) board been criticized over the inclusion of finance ministry permanent secretary George Guvamatanga.

Critics say finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s inclusion of Guvamatanga raises serious conflict of interest issues which can create room for inefficiencies experienced in the past.   

Ncube revealed the lean new board Thursday which will be headed by businessman Callisto Jokonya, deputised by Josephine Matambo. The other board members include George Guvamatanga, Isaac Kwesu, Memory Nguwi and Morris Mpofu.

Commenting on the appointments, economist Godfrey Kanyenze said Guvamatanga’s inclusion was unfortunate and signified government’s failure to learn from the past.

“How does he bring the authority to account when he is somehow a part of it?” Kanyenze queried.

“You see when we finalised the Inquiry into Pensions and Insurance report, part of the recommendations raised noted that it is improper for the finance Secretary to sit in parastatal boards after we discovered that the former secretary Willard Manungo failed to deal with most of the scandals because he also sat in the IPEC board.”

He warned that it would be difficult for Guvamatanga to exercise oversight behalf of government because he would be an interested party.

Another economist Doctor Prosper Chitambara added; “Government needs to strike a balance between protecting its interests as a shareholder and avoiding the risk embedded in conflict of interest.”

Corporate governance expert Canaan Dube said Guvamatanga’s appointment does not lead to any conflict of interest.

“However, the appointment only violates the Public Enterprise Corporate Governance Act which forbids such moves,” he added.

Economic analyst John Robertson said he was expecting government to transform the way in which ZIMRA operates.

“The tax authority used to be a department under the finance ministry but the move to turn it into a parastatal created the need for these costly boards so we were expecting that the revenue collector will be taken back under the ministry to reduce costs,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Guvamatanga were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.