SMEs protest government imposition of taxes without their input

By Caleb Chikwawawa

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have protested the decision by Finance Ministry and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to impose a gamut of taxes on their businesses without first engaging them.

This they expressed in Harare on Friday during an interface with authorities from the Finance; the Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises; and ZIMRA.

The business indaba, held at a top hotel in the city, was aimed at “unpacking the Finance Act to SMEs”.

The event saw the attendance of business persons from various SME sectors.

A panel of business people from the sector voiced their grievances in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Finance and ZIMRA.

The Secretary General for Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations urged authorities to have the courtesy to engage stakeholders before introducing laws that have a bearing on their operations.

“We are also proposing the issue of multi-stakeholder dialogue rather than rushing to come up with new laws. Planning for SMEs without SMEs is not service.

“Don’t take us for granted, you are telling us that you want a certain amount of money as tax, you are giving us an instruction … engage us in the tax increment decisions,” he said.

The Secretary General for the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations Wisborn Malaya also took issue with ZIMRA’s presentation at the conference saying it was too informative rather than tailored for stakeholder exchanges.

“Now I come to this session, I thought we were going to discuss and say can this form of taxation that was presented by the Minister of Finance work for the target or not, and we give input to the yes and the nos.

“But the presentation was sort of an informative one, to say ‘this is what is going to happen and if you don’t do this, this will happen’ which automatically means we have been left behind on a key process of formalising the Informal Economy.

“We want to be part and parcel of processes which make decisions that are friendly to the formal economy,” said Malaya.

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