Somani Narotam, the chairperson of a locally registered company, Surface Wilmar, has revealed that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), owes them $1.8 million and claimed the tax collector was broke.
Narotam said ZIMRA owed cooking oil manufacturing Surface, which is based in Chitungwiza, the money in tax refunds.
“Stop charging VAT (Value Added Tax) and duties on machinery imports. Zimra has no money to refund it,” he said.
He was speaking during a tour of his company by Industry and Commerce minister, Mike Bimha, last week.
The financially squeezed government has for years been relying on hawkish means by ZIMRA to raise revenue that include raiding and garnishing company and institutional accounts and imposing steep import and retail taxes.
Command taxation has, however, largely failed because most businesses have closed shop and thousands of workers retrenched in an economy independent analysts say suffers more than 90 percent unemployment.
Narotam told Bimha about lack of synergies in government ministries that resulted in excessive bureaucracy.
Public sector red-tape has been largely blamed for discouraging external and internal investment, even though government recently promised to correct the malaise.
“As government we are there to support. I hear your concerns bureaucracy, we are very comfortable in getting that feedback,” Bimha promised the Surface Wilmar boss.