GERSHEM PASIWalter Muchinguri Assistant Business Editor
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority surpassed its revenue collection target for the first quarter of the year by 5 percent after gross collections came in at $896,6 million against a target of $850 million.

However, net collections fell by 6 percent after the authority was left with $803,2 million against a target of $850 million.

The bulk of the revenue was realised from Value Added Tax (VAT), Individual Tax and Excise Duty.

VAT, which contributed the highest figure, grossed $200,5 million against a target of $157,9 million, which translates to a 27 percent increase.

Net collections at $107,8 million were 32 percent lower than the target of $157,9 million. Net VAT on local sales contributed 13 percent to total revenue and 51 percent to total VAT revenue respectively.

Zimra Commissioner General, Mr Gershem Pasi in a first quarter update said VAT on local sales revenue was up 4 percent from the $103,8 million that was collected during the first quarter of 2014.

“The performance of the revenue head was affected by the decline in industrial capacity utilisation to around 36,3 percent from 39,6 percent and low disposable income in the hands of consumers, he said.

VAT on imports on the other hand contributed 13 percent to total revenue and 49 percent to total VAT revenue respectively.

A total of $105,6 million was collected against a target of $96,1 million, resulting in a positive variance of 10 percent.

This was an 86 percent increase from the $56,8 million collected during the same period last year.

The revenue head benefited from an increase in the importation of goods which attract VAT, to supplement locally-produced goods. Net collections fell 32 percent amounted to $107,8 million against the targeted $157,9 million.

Individual tax, which accounted for the second highest amount contributed by all revenue heads, were up 4 percent to $200,2 million against a target of $192 million.

This was an improvement from the $193,3 million that was realised during the same period last year.

Mr Pasi said the performance of the revenue head could be attributed to improved compliance levels from clients following intensive investigations, audits and follow-ups carried out by the authority.

Excise duty contributed $165,4 million against a target of $139 million, resulting in a positive variance of 19 percent.

“Excise Duty on fuel contributed 78 percent of the total Excise Duty collected. Excise Duty on beer came second with a contribution of 11 percent. The remainder of the revenue was realised from tobacco, wines and spirits, second-hand motor vehicles, electric lamps and airtime,” said Mr Pasi.

The revenue head contributed $109,8 million during the same period last year, which translates to a 51 increase in this year’s revenue collections.

The performance of the revenue head was attributed to an increase in the level of petrol imports from 107,8 million litres in the first quarter of 2014 to 122,1 million litres in the quarter under review.

However, the level of diesel imports slightly went down from 206,6 million litres in the first quarter of 2014 to 199,9 million litres in the first quarter of 2015.

In addition revenue from fuel was boosted by the upward review of rates of excise for petrol and diesel to 45c per litre and 40c per litre respectively on January 14.

Collections from carbon tax up 11 percent to $8,4 million against a target of $7,6 million. A total of $8,3 million was collected under the revenue head last year.

Company tax, however, was 12 percent lower at $71,6 million. This was a 32 percent decline from the $104,7 million collected during the same period last year.

The performance of the revenue head was attributed to the challenging economic environment which has negatively affected companies’ profitability.

“Companies are facing several challenges which include liquidity constraints, antiquated equipment, insufficient credit lines, high cost of utilities and intermittent power supplies, among many more.

“Collections under this revenue head are expected to improve in the next quarter when 25 percent of the forecasted tax liability will be paid when the second Quarterly Payment Dates (QPDs) becomes due in June,” he said.

Customs Duty on the other hand was 9 percent lower at $78,3 million. The figure was, however, 10 percent higher than the $71,2 million collected last year. During the quarter under review Customs Duty of $195,9 million was foregone.

Mining royalties raked in $19,6 million, which was 40 percent lower than the target of $32,5 million due to depressed international prices of minerals, especially of gold and platinum.

A total of $79,1 million was collected during the first quarter of last year.

Revenue collections from other taxes were 20 percent lower at $46,4 million against the target of $57,9 million.

This was largely due to the tobacco levy failing to meet the set targets due to depressed tobacco prices at the beginning of the selling season.

Other factors included low performance of Capital Gains Taxes and Capital Gains Withholding Taxes due to the current liquidity constraints which are negatively impacting on the performance of both the local bourse and the properties market.