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Multi-million dollar whistleblowing corruption scandal rocks Zimra


Zimra workers declare incapacitation



ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) workers have declared incapacitation and demanded that they work for three days in a week, in a development that could result in government finances being hit since they are at the centre of revenue collection for state operations.


Zimbabwean workers are increasingly finding it difficult to go to work due to poor salaries. This week state media journalists at a big media house also declared incapacitation just like Zimra workers.

The development puts pressure on Zimra Commissioner-General Regina Chinamasa who was appointed substantive in September last year, after having worked in an acting capacity since February.

She took over from Rameck Masaire whose retirement became effective at the end of January. Before her appointment, Chinamasa was substantively Commissioner Revenue Assurance and was described by the Zimra board as a tax expert with over 28 years of experience in the field of revenue mobilization customs, domestic taxes and enforcement of compliance to fiscal laws.

 Zimra workers say their salaries have been hard hit by inflation such that they cannot afford to report for duty daily. Zimbabwe Revenue and Allied Workers Trade Union president Dominic Manyangadze wrote a five-page letter to Chinamasa on 24 May, copied to Zimra to board chairperson Antony Mandiwanza and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

“Cognizant to the fact that Zimra workers are important to the oiling of the governance machinery of our beloved nation, Zimbabwe and that they have been constantly and persistently meeting the revenue target every year in real terms as adjusted for inflation, which provides adequate capacity to the employer to satisfactorily attend to staff welfare issues,” Manyangadze wrote.

“Surprised that the welfare of workers is not receiving tangible and adequate attention in the face of a hyperinflationary environment with inflation hovering above the suppressed official blended rate of 75.2% with some unofficial sources stating it at 666%.

“Further concerned that the salary of a Zimra worker has been eroded such that it can no lon ger afford the worker to buy basic food items due to inflationary pressures caused by exchange rate volatility.

“Fretful of the fact that landlords are demanding rentals in USDs yet Zimra employees are being paid transport allowance at interbank RTGS$, leaving them to shoulder the premium gap, which is ever widening without any official avenue to secure such forex at the conversion rate;

“Frustrated that, besides the fact that the majority of Zimra workers are exposed to paying rent twice for themselves and their families due to the nature of their job, the current housing allowance being paid at the official bank rate is less than half of the actual amount being demanded by landlords and paid by the worker…

“For the above reasons the Zimra workers have declared that they are incapacitated, and thus they will not be able to fully engage with the employer’s business on a daily basis to enable them to supplement their incomes to cover rentals required in forex by landlords and school fees required in forex at schools including government schools.

“Now, therefore given the foregoing and the inadequacy of Zimra employees’ remuneration against the current economic environment, please take notice that our members will not have the capacity to consistently report for duty and thus request for a work arrangement which enables them to report for duty three days (3) + a week. The workers further request that you prepare and favour them with a timetable/schedule stating the days each one is to report for duty by Friday 26 May 2023.”

The workers also said they had continued to perform exceptionally well even in the face of very difficult working and economic conditions but are now having to supplement their incomes from side hustles.

They added that since last negotiations, the workers have grappled with the erosion of their salaries which from 1 January 2022 to December 2022 had lost value by 397%.

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