THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is introducing a new electronic system that will connect it with the information technology systems of all companies and organisations as part of measures to curb leaks in revenue collection.
The new system will also ease payment of taxes as Zimra will be working with actual figures.
As part of measures to curb corruption within its ranks, Zimra has also engaged the Zimbabwe Prison Services for orientation of their recruits on the conditions in the prisons.
This, according to Zimra, is meant to deter its staff from engaging in illegal activities in their day to day duties.
Presenting evidence to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, Zimra Com-missioner General Gershem Pasi said the new system, when adopted will go a long way in curbing leaks especially from mining houses.
“When you look at returns from the mining sector to the fiscus, it doesn’t match, even in tourism it’s the same, that is why we want to link up with everyone,” said Mr Pasi.
He said they had stationed officers at various mining companies, including at Marange diamond fields and platinum mines, but had found it difficult to ascertain the levels of production due to the nature of operations and high security systems.
“That is a challenge that is a nightmare (monitoring at mines), right now we have issues with diamonds. The focus is on Chiadzwa but we have other areas which are producing diamonds.
“Even with platinum, because of the high value of the platinum group of minerals we would require an army to be stationed there,” he said.
Mr Pasi said his organisation would require large numbers of people equivalent to its current staff levels to monitor production at mines, making it necessary to get connected with the mines electronically.
The new system will enable Zimra to monitor production at companies and compare whether what the companies ultimately pay in taxes tallied with levels of production.
Last year Zimra collected US$2,5 billion in revenue although Finance Minister Tendai Biti acknowledged in his budget statement that Government was being prejudiced of potential revenue by mining companies largely through under-declarations.
The organisation has collected US$723 million in the first quarter of this year.
Apart from monitoring production at companies, the new system will also expedite tax payments electronically.
Zimra director for information and communication technology and infrastructure, Mr Tiyapo Velempini, said they had already engaged CBZ Holdings and Kingdom Bank for a pilot project on the system.
“We have been installing servers that will allow us to integrate with various organisations such as the Central Vehicle Registry, the Deeds Office, the Registrar General, Zinara, clearing agents and others,” he said.
He said under the pilot project with the two banks, organisations will be able to make their payments without visiting Zimra offices and will do away with receipts and paperwork.
Meanwhile, Mr Pasi acknowledged that corruption was a problem in his organisation and has engaged the ZPS on the issue.
“We have talked with the Commissioner of Prisons that we may take new recruits to the prisons for a day or two so that we may be ‘shocked’ (by the conditions) and those on the margins would be swayed before they commit any offence,” he said.
He, however, bemoaned the involvement of law enforcement agents in corruption at the border posts saying this was making it difficult for them to curb the vice.
He said they were currently investigating a case involving law enforcement agents that facilitated a person to leave the country with cash above that stipulated by the law.
The person paid a US$250 bribe to be allowed to leave with US$18 000 instead of US$10 000 as required by the law.