I read with interest statements by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Gershem Pasi calling on government agencies such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Road Authority to remit the revenue that they are collecting to Treasury in order to assist resolve the fiscal crisis. The statements were made by Pasi when he appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development to give evidence on the revenue situation in Zimbabwe. I am somewhat concerned by the statements because they appear like an appeal to the government agencies when these entities are actually required by the country’s laws to surrender the revenue that they collect to the Consolidated Revenue Fund that is administered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Members of the portfolio committee should therefore insist that the Executive simply enforce the existing laws, and not try to use some kind of moral suasion when the legal provisions exist in black and white. Section 302 of the Constitution establishes a Consolidated Revenue Fund into which must be paid all fees, taxes and borrowings and all other revenues of the Government, whatever their source. The revenues will only not be paid into the Fund unless an Act of Parliament requires or permits them to be paid into some other fund established for a specific purpose or permits the authority that received them to retain them, or part of them, in order to meet the authority’s expenses. Section 16 (3) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) buttresses Section 302 of the Constitution by stating that a receiver of revenue can only retain the revenue if authorised by Treasury and subject to such conditions as may be fixed by Treasury. The revenues so retained shall be kept into a deposit account for the purpose of making refunds of monies erroneously brought to account as revenues. In other words, the use of the funds retained is specified by the Act. The authority cannot just spend the revenues retained for purposes not approved by fiscal authorities. Section 17 of the PFMA states that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other enactment, no expenditure of public monies shall be incurred on any service unless provision thereof has been made by or in terms of the Act or any other enactment. So when the ZRP for example goes to spend part of the fines collected to purchase vehicles, this should first of all be authorised by Treasury. The basic principle is that these are public funds and a high degree of transparency and value-for-money must be exercised in their usage. The Act empowers Treasury to anytime revoke the authority that it granted a Government agency to retain revenues. Section 78 states that Treasury may prescribe or issue instructions to ministries concerning the remission of money due to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A Treasury instruction or direction in terms of this section shall not come into force until approved by the Minister and published as a statutory instrument or general notice in the Gazette. So there is nothing complicated in ensuring that government agencies not remitting revenues do so. Minister Chinamasa is legally empowered to revoke Treasury instructions and publish a statutory instrument to that effect anytime. Surely the Minister cannot be mourning about limited fiscal space when he has the requisite legal powers to collect every cent due to the State. The problem we have in this country is lack of enforcement of the public policies that exist. The new Constitution and the PFMA have some very good provisions aimed at promoting sound public finance management. The Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development must familiarise itself fully with the various provisions and oversee their enforcement. Where certain areas in the statutes need to be strengthened, it is the duty of the committee to point these out and engage Minister Chinamasa to bring the necessary amendments for parliamentary approval. The country is bleeding fiscally and cannot afford some of the public revenues not finding their way into the fiscus. The statements by Commissioner General Pasi for all revenues to be remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund must be fully supported by the authorities and implemented without delay. The laws are in place for such action to be undertaken. John Makamure is the Executive Director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust writing in his personal capacity. Feedback:john.makamure@gmail.com