Systems, Processes and Challenges of Public Revenue Collection in Zimbabwe
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An efficient national revenue collection system is the hub of every public administration system and the cornerstone of sound fiscal management. It enables governments to finance budget deficits from domestic sources, thus dissuading recourse to off-shore sourcing. This article reviews national revenue collection in Zimbabwe, particularly interrogating major revenue sources, revenue collection strategies and soft spots for revenue leakage. Research findings indicate that the revenue collection sector has over the decades gone through milestone reforms, notable ones being the establishment of a sole national revenue authority in 2001, the shifting from cumbersome Income Tax Return Forms to Final Deduction Systems, the adoption of VAT in 2004 and Toll Gate systems in 2009. The discovery of diamonds in 2006 (with a potential to generate US$2billion dollars a year and even supply 25% of the world demand) was an added boost which is set to broaden national revenue generation and collection. Notwithstanding these developments, optimal revenue collection is still structurally and operationally compromised by loopholes in income tax frameworks, lack of transparency in revenue collection and remittance processes, and, corruption within institutions designated as Receivers of Revenue. There is need to review the structural and operational frameworks governing the national revenue authority, tighten treasury control over all national revenue sources, strengthen legislative oversight and the public audit functions, plug loose areas in income tax frameworks as well as instituting transparency in national revenue remittance processes.