Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will start supplying fiscalisation machines to tax payers to improve availability of the gadgets that improve revenue collection by the taxman, an official has said.
In an interview, Zimra acting commissioner-general Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa said the Government in consultation with the tax collector was forced to replace all suppliers of fiscalisation machines following price disparities.
“The prices of gadgets when we started fiscalisation were pitched at a much high price and that made the Government replace all the suppliers that were registered and tried to come up with a new list of fiscalised machine suppliers who have demonstrated that they have the expertise to man the fiscalised gadgets and assist the clients with the level of service that commensurate with the technical abilities of the system and gadgets,” said Mr Kunzvinzwa said.
He said most of the fiscalised gadgets suppliers were even demanding deposits before delivering. The fiscal devices’ cost range from $1 200 to $2 000 while one can spend about $250 if they acquire one on their own from South Africa.
“We have also looked at the resourcefulness of the companies that will participate in the fiscal gadget supply and it is only those that have demonstrated that they have the resources to import fiscal gadgets at affordable prices and making sure that the fiscal gadgets are available for tax payers as and when they want to fiscalise.
“So by making sure that the qualification to be a fiscal supplier embraces both technical expertise and resourcefulness of the company, we are assured and guaranteed that the prices would be affordable because these people have the resources. It is also an issue of economies of scale, when you import more gadgets then the cost is bound to be reduced but when you import one by one like a cross border trader when you are a company then of course your fixed and variable costs remain high.”
He said Zimra’s own consignment of fiscalised machines was expected this month.
“Zimra is also going to participate as a fiscalised machine supplier and we believe that from that thrust we will be the price setters of the gadgets that will come into the country and I think in a few months’ time we should see gadgets coming, infact Zimra’s first consignment is expected in the cowuntry by mid or towards the end of the month. The manufacturers have finished manufacturing the order and are in the process of shipping that consignment. So if all goes well within 14 to 21 days we will have goods supplied by Zimra that are at affordable prices,” said Mr Kunzinzwa.
About 12 000 businesses in the country have fiscalised their operations but Mr Kunzinzwa said the figure could be higher
was it not for inefficiencies by suppliers of the gadgets.
“Our focus is to fiscalise every supplier of goods and services so that we get the business activity that is taking place in this country. We have not yet reached a satisfactory level in terms of fiscalisation but I want to believe that with the inclusion of suppliers that have the resources to import the gadgets in bigger quantities, I am sure we will get to a satisfactory level by December,” he said.
The fiscalisation project was introduced seven years ago when the Government made fiscalisation legally enforceable by gazetting Statutory Instrument (SI) 104 of 2010. According statutory instrument, all eligible registered operators are required to commence recording of transactions using fiscalised devices. Failure to comply with the requirement to use fiscalised electronic devices for the recording of all business transactions is an offence and renders the operator liable to a fine or imprisonment.
The Government introduced the electronic fiscalised cash registers and fiscal memory devices with the objective to plug leakages in VAT payment. Fiscalisation is a computerised systemisation of cash register devices to enable them to record in, real-time, sales and other tax information for use by the tax authorities in Value Added Tax (VAT) administration.
Since the introduction of the fiscalisation, Zimra has been working on progress to improve the implementation of the system by businesses. The system also entailed that businesses in VAT categories A, B and D should have fiscalised their operations by December last year.
Categories A and B are those registered operators who are submitting returns after every two months while category D clients submit returns on a seasonal basis, or as agreed with the commissioner-general. Companies that fall in category C are those with an annual turnover of $240 000.
Economic commentator and business leader Dr Lucky Mlilo said acquiring the fiscal devices remains a big challenge.
“The biggest challenge that business people are facing is in the acquisition of these fiscal devices. The companies that are supposed to issue these gadgets do not stock these devices and expect the members to make a full payment for the device before it is supplied and this takes four to six weeks to deliver,” said Dr Mlilo.
He further lamented that the cost of the fiscal devices.
“The cost of these devices is so exorbitant compared to the cost of acquiring them from out of the country. We understand and appreciate the duty rebate that these companies are being given for importing these gadgets but they are still very expensive.
“The ability by business people to claim 50 percent of the cost against the output tax does not help them as they are already struggling with other operating challenges. We would like to implore the Ministry of Finance to help us reach a workable solution with the fiscal device suppliers especially the issue of cost,” said Dr Mlilo.