The Australian Government, through its development agency, AusAID, has partnered with ZIMRA to fund a capacity building programme called the ZIMRA Assistance Programme (ZIMRAP).

ZIMRAP has been in existence since May 2010. It is managed through a steering committee comprising ZIMRA officials from different divisions and a project office on the 6th Floor of ZB Centre where Kathy Mansfield heads ZIMRAP, assisted by Jesi Manikai and Kathryn Murwira.

The team has an annual work plan, approved by the steering committee. ZIMRAP`s overall task is to support ZIMRA`s identified capacity building needs and this includes funding staff to go on a range of short courses (for instance, at the African Tax Institute in Pretoria) and to attend specific conferences (which include the WCO conference in Pretoria in March; an HR Information Systems conference in Zanzibar in April and others). “We are hoping to arrange for the ATI to bring international speakers to ZIMRA this year,” said Ms Mansfield.

ZIMRAP is also funding the Regional Training Centre to enable ZIMRA to host two World Customs Organisation (WCO) ESA Regional courses in 2011. Last year, ZIMRAP brought in technical assistance to run courses for staff on the financial services sector and technical assistance to work with ZIMRA`s team on transfer pricing. ZIMRA training officers are involved in all inputs to build sustainable capacity at the Centre. More of this will happen in 2011.

ZIMRAP also makes technical input to the new Supervisory and Management Development Programme (SMDP) being spearheaded by the Training Centre and is funding a number of the courses. An Advanced Training of Trainers Course was held in January with some trainers and more of these in-service professional development events are planned for ZIMRA`s trainers.

The project has also been funding the Training Centre in a major upgrading. To this end, a new security system has been installed; while air-conditioning, laptops/workstations have been installed. In addition, furniture/library modernisation and acquisition of new resources have all been done to ensure that ZIMRA`s training takes place in an environment most conducive to learning. 

ZIMRAP also supports a scholarship programme open for applications to all staff. One cohort was selected last year and a second cohort will be invited to apply for Masters’ scholarships in 2011. This is a highly competitive process and selections are based entirely on merit through a strict grading system administered in a transparent process by a selection panel which includes ZIMRA and AusAID officials.