Pride Mahlangu, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says with the support from its stakeholders and clients it will “immensely” contribute to the Government’s target of attaining an upper middle-income economy status by 2030.
Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the national vision is to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy, with increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.
In his keynote address to mark the belated International Customs Day celebrations in Bulawayo yesterday, Zimra board member Dr Morris Mpofu said progressive engagements with their key stakeholders would act as a catalyst to the authority’s contribution to the attainment of Vision 2030.
“With the support of you our stakeholders and clients, I am confident that Zimra will contribute immensely to the attainment of the Government’s target of becoming a middle-class economy by 2030.
“Progressive engagements with you provide the right catalyst for this overarching goal,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said Zimra would continue working tirelessly in complementing Government’s efforts in enhancing the efficiency and efficacy of customs and tax systems in the country for improved economic performance.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we have faced, these interventions to a greater extent enhanced customs and tax processes. This has been made possible by the collaboration and support of clients and stakeholders alike,” he said.
Presently, Dr Mpofu said, efforts were underway to streamline operations of the many border agencies and stakeholders to eliminate any bottlenecks which arise from how different agencies at the border operate and relate to each other.
The International Customs Day is celebrated annually under the auspices of the World Customs Day to among others, appreciate the role of customs administrations and their stakeholders in promoting trade and travel, and economic development in general.
The day is celebrated on the 26th of January every year and Dr Mpofu said Zimra hosted the belated celebrations because the 26th of January this year fell on a Sunday.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme, “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet” to reflect how people can positively impact and transform the customs landscape in a sustainable way.
Dr Mpofu noted that Zimbabwe is a proud member of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), an independent intergovernmental body established to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations globally.
“Economic prosperity remains a key focus of the Zimbabwean government and being part of a body that collectively processes, through its members, approximately 98 percent of world trade, I would say we are in good company,” he said.
“Already Zimra is mandated to ensure that through its efforts, it protects the Zimbabwean society and environment by enforcing Zimbabwe’s laws at the borders.
“This means ensuring that imports do not harm Zimbabweans and the environment through drugs or similarly regulated or banned hazardous substances.”
Furthermore, Dr Mpofu said Zimra in line with this year’s theme, was responsible for promoting the prosperity of the economy through sustainable domestic resource mobilisation.
He said environmental and issues relating to the planet are an important aspect of Zimra’s mandate as the authority’s responsibility includes ensuring the environmental resources, fauna and flora, are protected at border posts.
“This entails enforcing the law to ensure that regulated animals, plants and their by-products are not illegally removed from or brought into the country.
“This on its own shows that the country is serious about harnessing the benefits of social, economic and environmental sustainability,” said Dr Mpofu.
In her welcoming remarks, Bulawayo Province Minister of State Cde Judith Ncube reaffirmed President Mnangagwa’s sentiments that the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra will not be pursued alone without strong partnerships among all stakeholders.
“As alluded to by His Excellency President Mnangagwa, we are not going to pursue our openness for business alone without strong partnerships which are becoming the underlying factor in the development of most economies.
“Bulawayo Metropolitan Province is, therefore, obliged to collaborate with its partners in the development of Zimbabwe.
“Partnerships with the private sector have seen Zimra working with our banks for the collection of revenue.
“This has proven to be a major step in improving convenience to clients,” she said.
“We also appreciate the efforts by Zimra in setting up a customs-to-business partnership forum to partner with private and public sectors in identifying challenges and solutions in the management of the international supply chain, trade facilitation, taxation and corruption.”
Minister Ncube challenged the tax collector’s employees to serve clients quickly and professionally without creating artificial bottlenecks so as to harbour corruption by asking for bribes.
“Corruption is a major challenge which the country faces and Zimra is not exempt from this problem, what is required for us to fight this scourge successfully is for Zimra officers to desist from asking for bribes and for our clients to refuse to pay and also avoid offering bribes.
“Zimra must live its zero-tolerance to corruption in line with its core values which are integrity, transparency, fairness, innovativeness and commitment.
“But from time to time, you still find rotten apples which try to frustrate its service culture,” she said. — @pridesinstinctz