By Andrew Kunambura
Zimbabwe’s largest business lobby group, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), is pressing government to clear 40 of its members who were “wrongly” listed as money externalisers by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The body has scheduled a meeting with central bank governor, John Mangudya, during this Easter holiday.
This comes as the Confederation’s sister organisation, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), on Thursday demanded government revises the list and clear those incorrectly implicated.
ZNCC said its member companies were losing their foreign business partners and finding it hard to transact outside the country, and the worst had become the struggle to export and import ever since their March 19 naming and shaming.
CZI president Sifelani Jabangwe told the Daily News yesterday that 32 of the 40 companies under its auspices have submitted full documentation proving they were wrongly implicated and are burning to clear their names.
As such, he said, business leaders are not giving Mangudya any Easter break.
“We have therefore fixed a meeting with the RBZ governor on Monday as part of efforts to clear ourselves and return to normal business,” Jabangwe said.
“Thirty two of our companies have come forward and submitted documents seeking to clear their names. We believe the remaining eight are either sorting their documents or they are returning the money if they truly externalised,” he said.
“We have examined the documents and realised that trading issues were mistaken for externalisation. We are going to be explaining to the governor that it’s not possible that all those companies could have externalised funds. The companies have supplied us with documents indicating they were simply exporting or importing but the transactions could not be processed on time for various reasons and the bank thought it was externalisation.”
“For example, if a payment for import or export has been made for 90 days and there is a delay, it could easily be mistaken for externalisation. We have companies which have those issues; whose payments were overdue,” he said.
“Remember Zimbabwe has a poor credit rating and when you are exporting for example, the foreign partner will only pay when they have received the goods,” Jabangwe said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board chairperson Willia Bonyongwe has refuted allegations that the boob which saw most companies getting wrongly listed as externalisers was caused by the failure of its clearing system which had malfunctioned.
Companies have been blaming Zimra, which spent the whole of January processing tax returns and acquittals manually as well as giving out CDI forms.
“They can’t really blame Zimra for that. I think the Zimra system was down for just a month and that is a list which is 90 days. It took 90 days to compile that list but if you are going to be in export, you have to make sure that the moment the money or the goods come in, you must acquit them and you need to have a person who does that very diligently, otherwise you are going to run into problems. It’s a back office function but a very important function,” she said. Daily News