Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
By Costa Nkomo
Yesterday’s question and answer session in parliament turned out into a Tendai Biti- Professor Mthuli Ncube drama who clashed over the recently introduced two percent tax on all electronic transactions.
The Harare East legislator described the two percent tax as retrogressive and cruel as it treats everyone as equal.
He added that the new fiscal measure lacks sincerity as people are going through a recession with the appetite to spend being so high amid uncertainty over their savings.
“Why is the Government imposing this additional transaction tax when we are in a recession? Why are you imposing the transaction tax when you forced us to abandon the use of cash because of the overdraft facility that was implemented by the Government?” Biti queried.
Professor Ncube fired back dismissing Biti’s observations that the economy is in recession.
“The economy is not in a recession. There is a technical definition of recession which is two successive quarters at least of negative economic growth.
“I submit that we have not had two successive quarters of negative economic growth; neither do we expect future growth to be negative. On the contrary, we have increased our projection of economic growth to the order of 6%,” Ncube said.
Earlier on, Biti had asked the rationale behind the two percent tax saying Ncube should focus on expenditure reduction rather than extending the burden to citizens.
“In view of the fact that the biggest challenge we are facing is the challenge of over expenditure and budget deficit that is now over 25% of GDP; also, in view of the fact that Zimbabweans are actually overtaxed, the percentage of our revenue to GDP is over 30%. Why did the Minister introduce the transaction tax of 2% to the people of Zimbabwe when the challenge and obligation should be on expenditure retrenchment and not looking for more resources?” he said.
Ncube had a torrid time as some legislators interjected him while Norton member of parliament, Temba Mliswa castigated him for being academic instead of addressing the questions.
“I am sorry Sir but he is being academic. He is being academic like a professor at Harvard. He needs to give us the response,” charged Mliswa.
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Publish date : 2018-11-02 10:29:22