FINANCE, Economic Development and Investments Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube has cold-shouldered critics of his 2024 national budget saying targeted revenue would assist ordinary Zimbabweans.
Ncube presented a ZWL$58,2 trillion 2024 national budget on November 30, projecting a domestic economic growth of 3,5% next year.
The budget, according to Ncube, would be backed by a raft of new taxes; increased fuel prices, tollgate, vehicle registration and passport fees, a sugar levy, mansion tax and a surcharge for vehicle imports, among others.
The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change and economists described Ncube’s budget as “anti-people” due to regressive taxes which will worsen the plight of the largely impoverished Zimbabweans.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay, Ncube said when government raised resources from taxes, these were used in providing services or supporting citizens.
“It is always pro-people. The question is which people?” he said.
“For example, if you look at the issue of the wealth tax, we have been very clear to say first of all it’s a redistributive mechanism which is normal in any tax system but, secondly, we are also keen to use these resources to support infrastructural development in urban areas,” he said.
“We have a large population in the urban areas. It is pro those people where the infrastructure will be developed.”
Ncube said a surcharge on sugar drinks was introduced to create a cancer fund.
“If you look at the issue, for example, of the surcharge on sugar drinks, … we have argued that from the resources that we were able to gather there seems to be some correlation with excessive sugar consumption … to the fizzy drinks and so forth with cancer.
“We are trying to create a cancer fund from a special levy on sugar drinks, that is pro-people because it is the people who are suffering from a sharp increase in cancer cases and non-communicable diseases are a problem,” he said.
Ncube said the 1% tax introduced in the mining sector would benefit communities.
“When you look through everything you will see that the budget speaks to the citizens. Let’s look at key issues of the mining sector, for example, where we are saying that Zimbabweans have not benefited as much from their natural resources and we are insisting on further beneficiation.
“We are insisting that 1% of the revenues from these mining companies should support the local communities where these minerals are being mined,” he added.
Older PostMan ‘dumps’ family for lavish life