OUTGOING Zimbabawe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Faith Mazani says she is excited about re-joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and will use the opportunity to mobilise technical assistance and capacity building for the tax collector.
Mazani, who re-joined the tax body in February 2018, will leave Zimra with effect from the end of January 2021 to join the IMF early February.
“The three years have been exciting for me as I saw some of the small changes that are showing from implementing the strategies and reforms we have introduced,” she told The NewsHawks in emailed responses.
“I am also excited about re-joining the IMF because this will give me an opportunity to mobilise technical assistance and capacity building for Zimra to complete some of the reforms we had started.”
Mazani said despite the economic challenges, Zimra managed to exceed targets and upgrade their systems.
Under her leadership, Zimra recorded a 31.19% jump to ZW$58,81 billion in gross revenue collections above the ZW$44.83 billion target for the third quarter ended 30 September 2020.
During the period, major revenue contributions came from individual tax at 15,26%, companies’ tax 14,63% while excise duties contributed 14.17%, Value Added Tax (VAT) on local sales (13.24%) and VAT on imports (13.08%).
“It is unfortunate that our procurement of the tax and revenue management system (TaRMS) was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the few system upgrades we did in both the current tax system and the ASYCUDA system have delivered some visible improvements in our processes,” Mazani said.
Mazani said the biggest challenge to the country’s domestic resource mobilisation efforts is the low compliance culture where citizens do not appreciate the need to pay their taxes and contribute to the fiscus.
“This is compounded by the high levels of corruption. Zimbabwe therefore needs to seriously make concerted efforts to fight corruption,” she said.
“I am happy that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is championing the anti-corruption strategy and Zimra will play its part through the MoU we signed with ZACC and through participation in the different structures set up under the strategy.”
Mazani said Zimra has been collaborating with other security and enforcement agents like the National Prosecuting Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Reserve Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit and other government institutions in their fight against corruption.
“Our revenue assurance division is being strengthened through recruitments and training to conduct serious enforcement programmes, including prosecuting tax offenders and smugglers, as well as asset forfeiture of proceeds of crime,” she said.
“Corruption is every citizen’s business and requires awareness and education on tax obligations, and commitment from everyone.”
Mazani joined Zimra at its inception and was one of its first revenue commissioners, but left in 2007 and worked briefly for Deloitte before joining the South African Revenue Service.
Before joining Zimra in 2018, she served as a tax administration expert/adviser for the IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centre (RTAC) since 2014.
Mazani holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master’s degree in Economic, Public Policy and Taxation from the National University of Japan.