ECONOMIC experts have slammed the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) over the non-disclosure of foreign currency revenues in its earnings.
This is despite the fact that government published Statutory Instrument 85 of 2020, legalising the use of foreign currency locally and in the process automatically requiring companies to pay tax in the currency of trade.
However, to date, no public disclosure has been made about the quantum of US dollar tax collected by the taxman.
Speaking to The NewsHawks, economist Prosper Chitambara called for transparency on the collections.
“It is time the taxman became more transparent on the matter of revenue collections which is a critical bedrock of good financial practices. Continued silence creates room for negative and baseless perceptions to form conspiracy theories,” he said.
He added that disclosure will meet the international best practice on matters around publicly generated funds.
Another economist, Naome Chakanya, urged the authorities to act in the best interests of the country.
“I think it will be in the best interests of Zimbabweans to know the quantum of US dollar earnings being raked in by tax authorities. The law currently recognises use of multi-currencies and continued silence contradicts government policy.
“Silence over the matter may be an attempt to avoid effecting partial US dollar salaries to the taxman’s employees and the generality of civil servants who are expecting such increments. It may also be inspired by government’s desire to avoid direct admission that the local currency is not effectively performing,” she said.
Chakanya added that matters of taxation are in the public interest, hence the urgent need for full disclosures.
Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda had not responded to questions by the time of publishing.
However, impeccable sources in Zimra attributed the non-disclosure to the fact that the country has not changed its reporting currency from the Zimbabwean dollar as was the case in 2009 when the economy fully dollarised.
Last year, that tax authority raised similar concerns and declared war on business entities accepting foreign currency for goods and services but illegally receipting these transactions in local currency, saying the culprits would be named, shamed and prosecuted.
Under the law, all businesses and individuals have to pay tax in the currency of their sales in proportion to each currency used.
The taxman said a number of such businesses selling some goods and services in foreign currency, mostly the US dollar, are receipting those sales in Zimbabwean dollars, which allows them to pay the resulting tax share in local currency, and thus potentially face charges of tax fraud.—STAFF WRITER.
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