Corruption is at the EPICENTER of Zim’s Economy Crisis

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Former ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira. He is facing two counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer during his tenure as a Cabinet minister.
Former ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira. He is facing two counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer during his tenure as a Cabinet minister.

Deep rooted corruption and economic mismanagement by the Zanu PF Government has been the main cause of this current Economic Crisis in Zimbabwe. The current economic challenges were exacerbated when budgetary support was withdrawn by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other donors.

By Ophias Kurauone.

Despite numerous efforts by different Finance ministers in the last two decades, among them technocrats and high-profile politicians such as Simba Makoni, Chris Kuruneri, Herbert Murehwa, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa, highly rated Tendai Biti and recently appointed Mthuli Ncube, the country’s economy is failing to register convincing, significant and meaningful economic turnaround.

The economy is characterised by high levels of unemployment, cost-push inflation affected by a loss of value in bond notes and RTGS, shortages of basic commodities such as fuel and cooking oil, which was aggravated by the recent Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance’s austerity measures and inconsistent fiscal and monetary policies.

Challenges in revenue collection

Frequent occurrences of high-profile cases of corruption in Zimbabwe such as of the recent acquittal of Harare businessman Chivayo, has negative consequences in the declining of confidence and trust from key stakeholders, citizens, business and the international community. It can be argued that there is a dynamic change of perception if top government officials are reluctant to deal with corruption issues because the high level of corruption breeds an even higher level of corruption and may led to revenue losses.

There is a lack of transparency and poor corporate governance in both the private and public sectors and Zimbabwe is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world according to the latest Transparency International world ranking of 2018. The country is characterised by a high level of corruption and lacks credible revenue collection methods.

It is believed that some corrupt government officials are not performing tax audits as expected to minimize corruption and therefore are creating loopholes and fertile ground of tax evasion which reduces the country’s revenues

Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the world which rely on trade taxes generated from both exports and imports of goods and services as an important source of revenues. However, evasion of import duties has attracted a lot of attention from economists and policymakers, as most importers in Zimbabwe are alleged to be evading customs duty by under-invoicing or smuggling.

Recommendations

Zimbabwe’s Treasury should appoint Auditors and Tax consultants who must investigate tax fraud, monitor tax revenue activities and protect whistle-blowers. This anti-corruption taskforce should perform its duties professionally showing a high level of integrity without fear or favour and developing political tolerance.

Ophias Kurauone is a Scientific researcher in Management Science and Engineering.

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