Zimra garnishes council US$40m Clr Manyenyeni
Mr Manyenyeni

Mr Manyenyeni

Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has garnished Harare City Council US$40 million for outstanding taxes, resulting in the city failing to pay its workers. This came out at a full council meeting on Wednesday where councillors pointed out that the garnishee order by the tax-collector would negatively affect service delivery.
Harare has for some time been struggling to meet its obligations, including salaries and repairing dilapidated infrastructure for the provision of water.

The city’s mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni said the garnishee order would have adverse effects on daily operations and force them to find alternative ways to increase revenue collection and cut salary costs.

“The garnishee was enforced and we owed Zimra US$43 million in terms of their assessments, including penalties and interests,” he said.

“We have to increase our revenues and cut our costs, that is the only way to go. Over time, we can then try and manage both sides of the equation.”

Asked to comment on how the residents would react to the increase in revenue and a reduction in the salaries of workers, Mr Manyenyeni said: “That is why I am of the view that there comes a time when we must all sit under one tree with those who we pay, our workers, and those who pay us, our residents and ratepayers. Let us remove suspicion and be open about the figures, the dire situation council finds itself in.

“We are at a point in time where we should work together to find lasting solutions to our problems. It may include reduction of the days which they work and salaries to a more sustainable arrangement.”

Despite its financial problems, Harare has continued to pay mega-salaries to its top administrators, including town clerk Tendai Mahachi who is taking home around US$37 000. Harare’s less than 20 directors gobble more than US$500 000 per month in salaries, while its workers have gone for months without pay.

Mr Manyenyeni said the main thrust was for council to engage Zimra. “Our intention is to engage the revenue collector so that we secure relief on aspects of that amount,” he said. “Going forward, given our current problems, l have a better understanding of a very common nature across institutions, be it Government and quasi-government institutions.

“There is need for a platform to sit around and iron out the modalities for settling this indebtedness.

“It comes at a time when we are about to pay our workers who are in arrears. We have lost steam for the current effort, we are behind and every cent counts. To lose any of our revenue is crippling.”

Zimra has gone on a nationwide blitz, garnishing accounts of corporates and other businesses, but captains of industry warn that this should be done in a way that does not jeopardise operations and lead to company closures.

One company, Mayor Logistics run by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena has since approached the Constitutional Court to rein in.

Mayor Logistics, which allegedly owes Zimra US$3 235 814 in Value Added Tax and Income Tax, seeks to stop the garnishing of its accounts arguing that the figure is unjustified and the calculations are inaccurate.

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