By Liz Dlodlo
The country’s revenue collector, Zimra says it has been rolling out a Covid-19 mitigation plan that has seen it safeguard revenue inflows and minimise interruption on service delivery during the lockdown.
The plan, according to Zimra Board Vice-Chairperson, Josephine Matambo has been in place in the second quarter of 2020.
She announced the plan through Zimra’s second-quarter revenue performance statement on Tuesday.
“Covid-19 continues to pose challenges for the local and global economy, and the Authority has not been spared.
“The global economy continues in recession, with recent forecasts by the IMF indicating that the global economy and Zimbabwean economy could contract by 4.9% and 10.4% respectively,” said Matambo.
She said the recovery from the Covid-19 shock is expected to be more gradual than expected as the country continues on level 2 lockdown.
Revenue collections, she said were expected to stabilise at the current trend as the exchange rate stabilises due to the foreign exchange auction system introduced at the end of June 2020.
“Going forward into the third quarter of 2020, although lockdown measures were relaxed, allowing registered businesses to operate, business activity is anticipated to remain subdued due to reduced business hours and the risk of rising local infections,” said Matambo.
She said Zimra would continue to operate with skeletal staff in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 regulations that require observing social distancing.
She added that the organisation was also exploiting ICT technologies to minimize disruption of business and ensure that taxpayers fulfill their tax obligations conveniently.
“As part of the safety plan, some staff were set up to work from home and facilities were set up for minimal staff to work in shifts while providing protection as much as possible for those working in the office.
“Though clients were not accessing the office, the full services were available through our on-line platforms for queries, returns, and other documents submissions and payments,” said Matambo.
She said they were also implementing some revenue enhancement and compliance enforcement measures.
These Matambo said include risk-based compliance checks on specific business sectors and specific revenue heads and desk follow-ups on payments and returns were made on IMTT, VAT, CIT, Presumptive Tax, VAT Withholding Tax, and Mining Royalties.
She said a specialised debt management team was now in place to ensure effective debt recoveries.
“Enforcement activities in the form of physical examinations, post-clearance audits, and bonded warehouse inspections were carried out only to the extent possible.
“Risk management was intensified to curb false declaration of values, quantities, origin, and tariff of imported goods and products and the electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) continued to combat transit fraud,” said Vice-Chairperson.