By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
A SENIOR government official has attributed the country’s relatively low Covid-19 deaths to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s controversial 2 percent tax he said has assisted in fighting the scourge.
Since the outbreak of the scourge March this year, Zimbabwe has seen 11 359 cases and 309 related deaths.
This is a far cry from the devastation being experienced by other world countries such as Italy, United Kingdom and even neighbours South Africa whose combined death toll is in hundreds of thousands.
However, Permanent secretary in Vice President Kembo Mohadi’s office, Reverend Paul Damasane said the government had no regrets in ushering in the new tax regime.
Addressing journalists attending a National Development Strategy (NDS 1) media training and communication strategy workshop in Gweru Tuesday, Damasane said the controversial levy went a long way towards strengthening government efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19, as well as embark on infrastructural development projects.
“The 2% tax introduced by government was used to fight Covid-19 and that is the reason why there are these low figures of people dying of coronavirus. Without the tax, most of us could have died of Covid-19.
“Also, Zimbabwe, through the Second Republic led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has managed to build infrastructure such as clinics and schools using internal funds without any assistance from development partners,” said Damasane.
He said the government has also managed to pay civil servants’ salaries using funds generated through the 2% tax.
The permanent secretary urged the media to report on positive issues that the Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration has managed to achieve in a bid to create positive perceptions, and not just focus on negative stories.
“The primary role of journalists is to expose and amplify progress (made by government), nomatter how small,” he said.
Damasane also reiterated that journalists should strive to unpack government policies so that their audiences appreciate what the country would be attempting to achieve.