FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said the multi-currency regime will remain in force for the foreseeable future as part of measures to ensure stability and stimulate economic growth.The minister is credited with introducing use of a basket of currencies among them the United States Dollar, South African Rand and Botswana Pula during his tenure as acting Finance Minister in 2009 as part of measures to contain raging inflation and stabilise the economy.
Following Zanu-PF’s victory in the July 31 harmonised elections, the market has been uncertain on Government position concerning return of the local currency.
Officiating at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (Zimra) Tax Payer Appreciation Day, Minister Chinamasa said as part of a raft of measures aimed at ensuring economic growth and stability, the Government would be coming up with strategies to boost industrial capacity utilisation and to widen its revenue base.
“In order to dispel any doubts on the market, I came back home to maintain the multi-currency regime. It will be with us, it will remain with us for an indefinite period,” he said.
He said the multiple currencies had been credited for stabilising the economy and busting the inflation bubble, which at its peak in 2008 stood at 231million percent.
Zimbabwe is currently enjoying a stable environment and the lowest inflation in the region at 1,28 percent. Minister Chinamasa said the Government would soon come up with measures to address the flooding of cheap imports as well as capacitate industry.
He expressed concern that Zimbabwe had become a warehouse for goods produced in other economies.
“We are now a warehouse for everything that is being produced from sweet potatoes, tomatoes to okra,” he said.
The next few months, he said, should see a marked reversal of the trend while urging industry to come up with re-tooling proposals. He lauded Zimra for being the financial bedrock for the Government over the past decade when the country was under siege from the West over the land reform programme.
“For many years now, we have had to rely on mobilisation of domestic resources for survival, given the situation that we find ourselves in where sanctions were imposed on us which hurt our economy especially from the year 2000,” he said.
“Tax collection has been a very important cog in our survival during the past 13 or so years. What we collected was prudently and frugally used for the provision of social services and amenities,” he added.
He said while the revenue base had shrunk due to under performance of the economy, it was critical that stakeholders came up with strategies to widen the revenue sources.
The Government would also make efforts towards capacitating Zimra to effectively play its role, he said. Meanwhile, Zimra Commissioner General Gershem Pasi said the authority would strive to meet its revenue target for 2013.
Mr Pasi urged corporates and individuals to pay their taxes voluntarily to help in the development of the economy. He said Zimra had since its formation, only missed its revenue targets for two years in 2001 and 2009.
“Paying taxes dignifies and builds our country,” he said.
The tax appreciation day ran under the theme: “National Economic Development Through Efficient Tax Systems.”—New Ziana.