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Zimbabwean Firms Seek Tax Relief to Restore Funds Looted by Central Bank

  • Gibbs Dube

The central bank owes private companies and non-governmental organizations close to US$1.5 billion having tapped their hard currency accounts without authorization to fund government operations

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has proposed that the financially distressed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe look at tax breaks as a mechanism for repaying firms whose hard currency accounts at the central bank were looted by the institution at the height of the country's economic meltdown in 2007-2008.

News reports quoted CZI President Joseph Kanyekanye as saying the RBZ should repay the money urgently as most of the companies whose funds were diverted to government use are struggling to survive due to a lack of capital.

The central bank owes private companies and non-governmental organizations close to US$1.5 billion having tapped their hard currency accounts to fund operations of the former government of President Robert Mugabe.

Such unauthorized use of funds drew international attention when it emerged that the Reserve Bank had misappropriated US$7.3 million that had been deposited by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Deputy Chairman Masimba Kuchera of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that using tax credits as a mechanism to repay RBZ creditors is a sound idea. But Kuchera cautioned that such credits would have to be instituted by the Finance Ministry as fiscal policy is outside the RBZ's purview.

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