Happiness Zengeni and Tinashe Makichi—
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is expected to go live by the first quarter of 2016 as Government promotes transparent revenue collection and efficiency at border posts to improve the local doing business environment.Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday told a media briefing that Government was working towards automation of various systems to enhance efficiency and stem corruption.
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“There are moves to create an e-enabled process at ZIMRA that will reduce cases of corruption and there are also moves driven at the highest level chaired by one of the Vice Presidents in terms of improving all our border posts. Border posts are set for a major revamp.
“We are working closely with ZIMRA and they will go live by the first quarter of next year so that issues of taxing constraints will be addressed.” Dr Sibanda said a One-Stop Border Post will be achieved by the end of 2016 and Government is confident of achieving the milestone.
He said there have been multiple improvements in terms of operations at Beitbridge Border Post during this Christmas period, while new machinery is being set up to improve efficiency at the border post.
Dr Sibanda said Government was taking a multi-faceted approach to come up with an e-enabled system. Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha told the same Press briefing that Government had reaffirmed its commitment to improving the country’s business and investment environment.
He said submissions have been made to Cabinet on the progress made against set targets for the first 100 days on the Ease of Doing Business initiative.
Minister Bimha said this is a Government wide and multi-stakeholder initiative embarked on in September 2015 driven by the Office of the President and Cabinet, with support of the World Bank as directed by President Robert Mugabe in his 10 point Economic Plan in the State of the Nation Address in August 2015.
The programme focuses primarily on improving the business environment for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs as well as laying the foundations to attract sustainable and mutually beneficial investment.
According to the multi-stakeholder review of the 100 days initiative, the rapid results concept was adopted to set targets to help improve Government’s capacity to diagnose institutional constraints and improve capacity for programme planning and implementation.
He said time taken by business people to start a business and obtaining various permits was found to be a major obstacle, hence urgent reforms needed to be implemented.
“Cabinet noted that processes that straddle Government agencies have been streamlined. Of particular mention is the consolidation of the processes to pay taxes at ZIMRA by ZIMDEF and NSSA through adoption of a Single Window Tax Payment System,” said Minister Bimha.
Since the adoption of the Rapid Results Approach, the number of days taken to process the requirements of starting a business has been significantly reduced to 26 days from 90 days.
Days taken to obtain construction permits were reduced to 120 days from 448 days, Property Registration now takes 14 days from 36 days while time taken to pay taxes was reduced to 160 hours from 242 hours.
“In response Cabinet emphasised the need for all Line Ministries to be committed to all the processes that require their action. This would ensure successful Whole of Government Approach to the Ease of Doing Business in Zimbabwe.
“Cabinet went further to call upon all key Ministries to ensure that they played their part fully to enable complete buy-in by key officials in the reform and review of departmental processes under the programme,” said Minister Bimha.
He said there is need to continuously review and communicate Government procedures with the intention of providing an efficient and effective service delivery to domestic and foreign investors.
Minister Bimha said Government is fully committed to creating an enabling environment for local entrepreneurs to thrive, grow and incentivise foreign investors including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to bring capital and new technologies in order to exploit abundant human and natural resources.