HARARE- The United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party which is led by Elisabeth Valerio, has castigated taxes put in place by Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube in the 2024 national budget as punitive and having negative effects on the general populace reeling from economic meltdown.
UZA, issued a scathing communique recently describing the 2024 budget as out of touch with reality on the ground.
“Zimbabwe already has a plethora of taxes that include, inter alia, Income Tax, Value-Added Tax (VAT), (CGT), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Estate Duty and numerous other levies.
“There is therefore no justification to warrant a new ambitious “capital ” tax (of limited administrative means), that in fact, debatably addresses “income levels” as alluded to by the Minister, but addresses asset levels-irrespective of their income generating status,” reads the communique.
The communique also outlined the authorities’ failure to transparently use the revenue generated from taxes.
“Zimbabweans have a chronically low tax morale caused by the abuse of their tax revenue. Taxation is essentially a social contract between the state and its subjects, the taxpayers, wherein the state practically attaches the property of the taxpayer and pledges in return to conscientiously use the revenue realised for the provision of public services to the taxpayers,” the communique reads.
UZA added that before presenting the 2024 budget, Finance Minister Ncube acknowledged the economic challenges facing the people but later made a somersault by introducing punitive tax frameworks.
“Within his budget proposal, the Minister, in a show of arrogance, has introduced a punitive tax framework targeted at the very populace he has previously acknowledged as grappling with challenging economic circumstances.”
UZA also expressed disquiet over allocation of more budget to the Defence Ministry at the expense of critical ministries like Education, Health and Child Care.
“As a nation not currently engaged in conflict, and given the dire condition of our healthcare infrastructure, the allocation of relatively substantial portion of the budget -exceeding the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s allotment by approximately 50% to the Ministry of Defence lacks rationality, ” said UZA in its statement.
The opposition political outfit, UZA, however, commended steps taken by the Finance Minister Ncube to boost the tourism industry which is amongst the country’s main revenue sources.
“On a positive note, acknowledgment of tourism’s critical role in the economy and the allocation of Z$71.1 billion to spearhead tourism development and marketing is a commendable step. The extension of the Tourism rebate further encourages investment in this sector,” said UZA.
UZA’s communique comes amid disgruntlement amongst civil servants over taxing of US$300 component of their salary after it has been converted to permanent pensionable salary starting this January.