By Robert Zawe
Those that have followed the activities of Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) will agree with me that the institution has done a lot in the last three years to transform itself. The institution has walked a journey of continuous innovation and internal structural transformation to achieve excellence in line with its 2019-2021 Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP).
It’s a common notion that in a fast changing world every organization must change to survive, prosper or remain relevant. As ZRA, our determination is to move at the pace at which the world is changing. For instance, as the world embraces WhatsApp for communication ZRA embraces it for payment of taxes. Taxpayers are now able to pay taxes through WhatsApp, offering the efficiency and convenience they need.
Talking about other great innovations, the institution has so far introduced on the market brilliant locally engineered Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovations such as the TaxOnline system for domestic taxes, TaxOnPhone-an innovation that enables taxpayers to do various tax activities on the simplest of a phone by dialling *858# and lastly the latest TaxOnApp which provides taxpayers an opportunity to access ZRA through a phone application that can be downloaded onto their smart phones. As the globe shrinks into the palm, ZRA also has shrunk into an App. These innovations have changed the way taxpayers transact with ZRA. Walking to ZRA for any tax matter is no longer a must but an option for taxpayers.
The 2019-2021 Strategic Plan also revised the Corporate Vision, Mission Statement and Core Values. The new Vision Statement seeks to capture ZRA’s critical role in Zambia’s development as outlined in the Vision 2030. Our Mission reflects our new approach of taxpayer engagement and compliance enhancement through changing customer experience. This approach has given birth to the various ICT innovations as highlighted above as well as internal structural changes in order to offer excellent services to our taxpayers. As ZRA we want to be genuine, remarkable and worth connecting with.
To add icing on the cake, the Commissioner General Mr. Kingsley Chanda in October, 2020 created a dedicated centralised unit called Customer Experience Unit under the Directorate of Innovation and Project Management headed by an Assistant Director with a core mandate to improve customer experience. This Unit is now functional and has hit the ground running. The Unit is now busy weaving into place changes that will soon be undertaken in order to turn the current customer service level 180⁰ to achieve the desired level. I’m sure taxpayers have already started noticing some positive changes in our service provision. Going forward ZRA’s customers or clients will continue to experience a whole new level of service and feel-something they have never experienced before. Paying tax or seeking tax services will be very smooth and enjoyable.
When Mr. Kingsley Chanda joined ZRA as Commissioner General in 2016 he promised taxpayers nothing but excellent service from ZRA. He said ZRA was going to change its negative perception to a global brand recognised for customer centric services. It is now evident that the institution is on the smooth path to achieving his vision. Like Clare Muscutt said “building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” ZRA’s aim with these innovations and structural transformation is to enhance revenue collection and grow compliance across the entire eligible tax base. Taxpayers now have no reason for being non-compliant. My Tax, Your Tax, Our Destiny.