Airtime and street vendors to pay $1 a day state levy

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

It’s been reported that the government is planning to step up its revenue collection efforts with a crackdown on all informal traders. This blitz will also rope in the numerous airtime vendors who have become a permanent feature of street side entrepreneurship.

This move is going to be the latest effort to increase revenue for state coffers which have come under strain from a tough economic environment. It is aimed at  tapping into the informal economy which, by some estimates, handles up to $7 billion of the currency in circulation.

The new levy is actually not surprising. It’s evident that a lot of money changes hands through street vendors who seem to be selling everything these days. At the same time the airtime vendors are also a major channel for the movement of hard currency.

Various products are available from street vendors who will now pay a daily levy to sell their wares

Someone in the corridors of power was eventually going to come up with a suggestion to get a piece of the action. Earlier this year a 5 cents charge was attached to every mobile money transaction after the huge revenue potential of mobile money was observed as something worth tapping into.

What remains to be seen is how effectively this street levy is going to be collected from the vendors and street merchants. The municipal police has enough stories to tell about the cat and mouse relationship they have with street vendors. This time the chasing is going to include the airtime vendors who make a tidy sum weaving through traffic at every intersection.

For the airtime vendors this is going to be an added cost to business that they cannot push onto the customer through a price increase. With airtime sold at face value, any tax or levy just means smaller profits for them. This could force vendors to evade authorities or drive them out of business, essentially killing the proverbial goose for State revenue.


  1. agree(stop hating)

    our government is just crazy..

  2. Nicholas Moyo

    Everyone who makes an income must pay tax.Period.
    The government can collect that money at the point where the air time bulk purchases are mad.
    Next are makorokoza.
    My only problem is that this money migth be going to some shef’s pocket and NOT paying civil servants.

  3. tinm@n

    $1 per day
    $6 per 6-day working week
    $24 per month

    May seem small to some but that’s a lot if a household is dependent on such income.

  4. Gazprom

    Airtime vouchers already have a tax component to them so this comes out as double taxation. Gvt is too desperate. I wont be surprised Mr Pasi demanding for tax deductions on Rusambo

  5. TK

    That 30 dollars a month pays rent for one room in High density. Its a lot of money to a vendor

  6. juss

    A person who is employed and earns $200 is not taxed. If you are a vendor and you make $70 per month then pay $30 tax leaving $40. The poor will always be poor, the gvt makes sure of that.

    What happens when the vendor is robbed of his $40 profit plus working capital of $100 on his way home? The guy will run a loss but still have to pay tax. Companies dont pay taxes on losses, in fact, they benefit from tax losses as tax credits for a period of 6yrs!

    Zimbabweans are literate and not intelligent!

  7. Reversa Jive

    Kana iriyo Sovereignty yacho ngaigare! People are suffering, and all we can do is take more money from them.

  8. juss

    The Income Tax Act should be repelled and in place we have the Activity Tax Act.

    Only a Lawyer thinks that an loss making activity should be liable to pay Income tax as if an income is made

    Whats next? An Air Tax coz we all breath!

  9. Anonymous

    The Height of Desperation

  10. Farai

    This will not work.

  11. Anonymous

    It would have been better if the tax was added to the cost of airtime. $1 of airtime costs $0.92 for they vendors who buy in bulk. The govt could have added 1cent tax to make it $0.93.

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