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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Treasury commits to consider Captains of industry budget submissions

Story by Owen Mandovha

THE Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion Professor Mthuli Ncube has undertaken to consider captains of industry submissions arising from the 2024 National Budget proposals.

The Treasury chief, however, stressed that the measures pronounced are necessary to propel the national development agenda.

The contentions around the 2024 National Budget presented last week, especially on new tax measures that were deemed unjust and exorbitant, presented the Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion Professor Mthuli Ncube with an opportunity to cool off the waters and clarify the fundamental principles guiding his new measures.

A post-budget meeting held in Harare this Wednesday, organised by the Chamber of Mines, saw the Treasury Chief highlighting that a country confronted by the harshest economic sanctions but seeking to uplift people’s living standards and modernise the economy, has to be innovative to fund social protection programmes and develop its infrastructure.

“I call upon the Captains of industry to make submissions by next week which I will consider because presentations made by industry experts are progressive and confirm that there is nothing that we have introduced is out of sync with reality but are normal tax measures to raise revenue.

“We may not agree on the threshold and approach but we need to broaden our tax base in order to cater for the social protection schemes we have embarked on and also the need to finance infrastructure,” he said.

Permanent Secretary for Finance and Investment Promotion Mr George Guvamatanga, weighed in saying contrary to uninformed opinion that the budget is anti-poor, the extraordinary measures are progressive and pro-poor.

“Money does not grow on trees and we need to find it somewhere in order to grow our economy and fund all other developmental projects that we need to accomplish. One needs to understand that once you chuck off one revenue you have to correspondingly cut on expenditure to spearhead some projects and pro-poor schemes that we have embarked on as the Second Republic. So legislators need to remember that once they debate they need to bear in mind that,” he said.

Captains of industry concurred with the Treasury’s policy thrust but requested for softening on most of the key tax measures.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion Honourable Kudakwashe Mnangagwa said the bigger aim is to cushion vulnerable sections of society.

“Our Government is cognisant of the needs and welfare of our people and this budget is in line with uplifting the standards of people because what it does is it seeks to raise resources to champion the pro-poor developmental projects that we have started. So contrary to label it anti-poor it is indeed pro-poor to a very bigger extent,” he said.

The tax measures that triggered debate from the ZWL$58 trillion budget include the 1% property tax, the US$ 0.02 tax on sugar beverages, 100 percent hikes in toll fees, motor vehicle registration fees and passport fees, among a host of other contentious measures.

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