REPORTS that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) will not write off the $3,9 billion it is owed by companies and local authorities as this will set a bad precedent of not paying up dues, point to a good start in inculcating good corporate governance and good public spirit for the development of the country.
It is still not lost to the majority of Zimbabweans why local authorities across the country are failing on the service delivery front although many residents and ratepayers continue to pay rates to councils.
What is clear is that whenever politics is left to take the lead over service delivery, the poor majority will suffer from a plethora of challenges, with no one eager to take responsibility for the errors.
Zimbabweans’ memories are still fresh on how local municipalities were compelled by former President Robert Mugabe’s regime to write off debts owed by residents during the change-over to the dollarisation system a few years ago.
To date, the majority of the local authorities have not yet recovered from then Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s suicidal decision that was meant to curry favour with voters.
It boggled the mind how government could force councils to write off the debts by residents and ratepayers when government does not fund activities by the local authorities. How then could the local authorities fund service delivery?
Clearly, as Zimra noted, writing off debts would not augur well for the future. It is important to establish a culture where people honour their obligations and exercise fiscal discipline through arranging payment plans to ensure that they pay off their debts.
There are many people and corporates who have been faithfully paying their dues, and writing off others’ debts will not send the right message as this could dampen the spirits of those that have been compliant.
With the new regime making efforts to resuscitate the economy, there is need to promote a culture whereby things are done the right way, and one way of doing that is ensuring that all dues owed to the State and local authorities are paid. This will also enable them to deliver the requisite services needed by residents.
Over the past few years of economic collapse, people had lost the value of honouring their obligations and it is important to re-emphasise that culture for the development of the country. Debt write-offs may force other people to stop paying their dues in the hope that they would also have them written off as the precedent was already set.
Everyone has a responsibility in making Zimbabwe tick again. This by making sure every Zimbabwean meets their obligations.