By Alois Vinga
NEIGHBORING South Africa has remained Zimbabwe’s major trading partner after imports from the regional powerhouse reached a record 47,1 % last year, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has reported.
Speaking during an annual general meeting Thursday, ZIMRA acting commissioner general, Rameck Masaire said statistics at hand shows that neighboring South Africa is still the country’s largest trading partner both in terms of imports and exports.
“The major trading partner remained South Africa from where 47,1% of Imports were sourced from as well as 45,2% of exports. During the period under review, the total Imports for the year 2020 were $324,6 billion. Total exports reached $257 billion with a trade deficit of $67,6 billion,” he said.
Zimbabwe spends close to US$2 billion on South African imports annually which has prompted market watchers to call for an outright revamp of local manufacturing capacity in order to save the foreign currency for important local use.
He however said the major exported products remained raw minerals which included Nickel mattes, semi-manufactured gold, and flue-cured tobacco which contributed 94% of the total exports.
During the past year, collected net revenue was at $181,96 billion against a target of $171, 90 billion which was 5,8% above target.
The revenue collected recorded 684,7% nominal growth from 2019 and stood at 74,9% in real growth terms from 2019.
The top six revenue contributors were mining and quarrying which contributed 23% , financial and insurance which contributed 19 % , manufacturing 15% , wholesale and retail trade 13% , information and communication 7% and agriculture, forestry and fishing which injected 4% while the other sectors contributed 19% combined.
Also speaking at the occasion, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube said the treasury noted the resilience demonstrated by ZIMRA in the collection of revenue, notwithstanding the challenges associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“I note that revenue collections also continue to benefit from the self-assessment system, buttressed by the numerous revenue collection agents that withhold specified taxes at source.
“It, thus, becomes critical for the Revenue Authority to enhance the Information Technology Platform, which is key in electronically connecting operators, agents and general taxpayers to facilitate seamless and uninterrupted connectivity,” he said.