Friday, September 17, 2021

SMEs regret formalising businesses

Shumirai Zhou

ZVISHAVANE – Owners of Small to Medium Enterprises have said they regret having complied with the government’s drive to formalise their businesses, saying the process had resulted in them being exploited by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
Many small business owners who spoke to TellZim News said the tax collector was now treating them as a ‘cash cow’ which has to be relentlessly pursued.
Secretary General for SMEs in Zvishavane, Bigboy Murenga said relations between Zimra and hardworking small business owners were often fraught with tension owing to the former’s lack of consideration.
“Zimra officials are reported to be paying frequent visits to registered SMEs collecting taxes. This has seen some registered SMEs threatening to close their businesses because they cannot withstand the amount of revenue Zimra is charging on their businesses.
“The existing sour relations between the two have resulted in unregistered SMEs getting rid of any thought of formalising because formalisation is now like committing a crime,” said Murenga.
Other SME owners in the town also said Zimra’s rigid tax regime was hindering growth of the economy and depriving the State of much needed revenue.
They also said although many small business people have a positive view of formalisation and its benefits, Zimra officials needed to change their attitudes towards the SMEs industry if the country is to reap the full potential benefits of a vibrant small to medium businesses

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