4 April 2017
HARARE – The clueless and desperate Zanu PF administration has come up
with a raft of new taxes, further strangling its overtaxed citizens.
President Robert Mugabe’s government last Thursday imposed a new 10
percent tax on tobacco sales, resulting in angry farmers threatening to
withhold their crop for the current marketing season.
The farmers’ response to the new tax is likely to disrupt the
much-anticipated 2017 tobacco marketing season.
Impoverished Zimbabweans rank among the most heavily-taxed in the region
given that they are already reeling from a wave of other additional taxes
recently imposed on them, including the recent shock hike in traffic
fines, the taxing of commuter omnibus operators, driving schools,
hairdressers and cross-border traders.
This is against the background of government recently giving the green
light for the assumption of the Health Levy – a five percent tax on
airtime and data.
In addition to that, the long-suffering citizens have been paying the Aids
Levy while their salaries are significantly taxed at least 20 percent
through pay-as-you-earn (Paye).
Recently, Mugabe’s desperate administration imposed a 15 percent value
added tax (Vat) on meat and potatoes, which they later reversed following
fierce outrage by consumers.
Motorists are also levied through toll fees and vehicle licences and
authorities are planning to introduce urban tolling.
It appears government is trying to raise funds to meet its obligations,
including paying bonuses to civil servants.
Government last month agreed to pay bonuses to its bloated workforce,
following threats of industrial action by union leaders.
The cocktail of taxes is not good for the economy and reminds people of
the disastrous hyperinflation of 2008.
Meanwhile, bond notes – a surrogate currency introduced late last year –
continued to lose value against the United States dollar, which is now
scarce on the open market. Apart from having to contend with its depleted
coffers, the government is also struggling to contain rising public
discontent over the worsening shortages of cash and plummeting standards
Surprisingly, while government collects substantial amounts from these
taxes and fees – including fines at the numerous police roadblocks – an
insignificant amount is channelled towards its intended purpose with the
remainder sieving through into the unorthodox but institutionalised
Following the controversial 2013 elections, the country has seen a steady
reversal of its growth trajectory.
The agricultural and manufacturing sectors in Zimbabwe are in a
On the other hand, health delivery services and standards in the education
sector have plummeted to alarming levels. If only the money collected was
used to fund the productive as well as service sectors, the better.