Customs and Tax Reforms Effect on Manufacturing aqnd Retail Sectors in Matebeleland (Zimbabwe) (2000-2010)

Everisto Marufu, Donnelie Muzividzi, Kudzanayi Matowanyika, Piason Viriri; Epiphania Tererai


The last decade (2000-2010) has been witness to one of the largest customs and tax experiments in economic history, the transformation from one tax system to the other. These changes in the customs and tax systems have had a lasting impact on the manufacturing and retail industries in Zimbabwe. The purpose of this dissertation is to test empirically whether customs and tax policies exist in Zimbabwe and whether these policies/reforms have been beneficial to the local industry. This is done by studying the manufacturing and retail industries in Matebeleland province. A sample of twenty (20) companies has been drawn from the Matebeleland region. Questionnaires have been distributed and interviews conducted with these companies using the stratified random sampling method. Results of the survey indicate that the customs and tax systems that have emerged are, at least in some way, satisfactory in terms of policy but deficient in terms of administration and enforcement. Inadequate education on implementation of the changes in tax and customs systems has contributed to some existing policies on customs and tax incentive not being correctly implemented. Controls on the implementation of the existing policies are not water tight, leaving room for implementers’ discretion and ambiguity. Experiences with the tax reforms have been diverse, with some respondents knowing very little about them. It also shows that despite changes in customs reforms, many businesses are still relying heavily on imported goods.

The results from the study suggest that further tax reforms should take into account the need to build vertical accountability of the tax system by ensuring that taxpayers are more involved in the formulation of tax policy and planning for any reforms. Policy makers and implementers of taxes and customs laws should be engaged in meetings to map the way forward whenever changes to taxes and customs systems are about to take place. This should be followed by public awareness campaigns. The tax system must protect local industries, encourage the investments that make manufacturing successful, not tax it to benefit the rest of the economy.

Key words: Tax Planning, Tax and customs reforms,

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