Industry players call for Budget taxes review

Organisations in industry and commerce want Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to review some of the tax proposals he made in the 2024 Budget saying they would impact negatively on the cost of living especially in light of forecasts of a drought this season.

Several organisations within industry and commerce yesterday appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, chaired by Zaka South legislator Cde Clemence Chiduwa, to raise their views on the Budget proposals presented by Prof Ncube almost a fortnight ago.

Some of the concerns raised included the introduction of 15 percent VAT on more basic commodities, increases in toll fees on major through routes, and the introduction of the annual one percent wealth tax on properties valued at US$100 000 and above.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the introduction of a 15 percent VAT on basic commodities would trigger price increases.

“The tax law that existed before this Budget recognised that basic commodities such as maize meal, wheat flour, bread and salt are critical goods needed for the sustenance of life and must be affordable at household level. The intention of the legislature in zero rating these commodities was to ensure that they remain affordable to the generality of Zimbabweans,” he said.

Mr Musarara added that the introduction of the 15 percent VAT would lead to price increases of that amount.

“The prevalent aggregate demand levels cannot afford such an increase and sustain the current consumption volumes. Food security at household level will be threatened,” he added.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Mr Denford Mutashu, echoed similar sentiments saying the VAT would reduce aggregate demand and called on Prof Ncube to further increase the tax-free threshold to increase disposable incomes.

“The national Budget proposed to raise the non-taxable threshold to $750 000 per month with effect from January 1.

“While this is a welcome development and step in the right direction, our view is that the threshold is still not adequate to stimulate the current low levels of aggregate demand, especially for civil servants who constitute a significant chunk of the workforce,” Mr Mutashu said.

In its presentation the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries welcomed Government’s thrust to broaden the tax base especially addressing various constraints faced by the informal sector which include complex registration requirements, access to credit and strengthening linkages with formal businesses.

“On imposition of fines for non-fiscalisation of activities there should be a reduction in the costs associated with the purchase of all fiscalisation equipment as this has been a contributing factor towards lack of fiscalisation,” CZI president Mr Kurai Macheza said.

Speaking in an interview after the meeting, Cde Chiduwa said the committee would consider the views.

“The presentation that was done by the Honourable Minister were proposals. These proposals are supposed to be scrutinised by stakeholders and this is what we have been doing today, to gather views from a cross-section of stakeholders,” he said.


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