By Kenneth Matimaire
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) exceeded its 2020 annual net revenue target by 5.86% to collect a total of $181.96 billion against a projected $171.9 billion, according to its 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) report.
The 2020 annual net revenue collection further represent a growth rate of 74.5% compared to 2019 collections in inflation adjusted terms.
ZIMRA attributed its positive performance towards its strategic drive to widen the country’s tax base through registration of new taxpayers.
According to its 2020 AGM report, a total of 21 623 additional taxpayers were registered in the year under review.
The new taxpayers managed to post $558.2 million in tax contributions against a target of $218.7 million.
The 2020 report further indicated that foreign currency collections for 2020 amounted to US$787.85 million.
This becomes the most substantial collections realised after the central bank authorised local trade using free funds by individuals and corporates through Statutory Instrument 85 of 2020 to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report indicated that six main sectors contributed 81% of the revenue collected. These mining and quarrying, finance and insurance, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, information and communication and agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, in his keynote address read on his behalf by the permanent secretary George Guvamatanga, applauded the tax collector’s resilience in its robust revenue collection drive despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
“Treasury appreciates ongoing efforts by the authority to meet set targets, it is important to assess such performance against the maximum potential to collect revenues, in particular, considering the untapped potential concealed in various policies that still require full implementation,” Ncube said during a virtual meeting on Thursday.
He hastened to point out the need to address other policy bottlenecks in order to continue to boost revenue inflow.
“While we celebrate the positive revenue performance, it, thus, remains crucial for the Revenue Authority to swiftly address policy implementation bottlenecks, particularly with regards to the fiscalisation programme and the attendant VAT refunds mechanism,” said Ncube.
He went on to challenge the Authority to enhance its information technology platform, which is key in electronically connecting operators, agents and general taxpayers.
The online platform facilitates seamless and uninterrupted connectivity, thereby guaranteeing prompt payment of taxes, regardless of geographical location of taxpayers.
It was noted that the majority of operators have not fully fiscalised their operations, including, in particular, ensuring that fiscalised devices are linked to ZIMRA servers.
It is in this regard that the finance minister implored ZIMRA to harness revenue that remains concealed in operators that have not yet fully embraced the fiscalisation programme.