By Anna Chibamu
COMBATIVE Zanu PF Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba has warned Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube that he risked instigating anarchy in the country following his unpopular decision to tax civil servants and subsidising basic commodities for uniformed forces.
Ncube on Wednesday announced that all civil servants, except those in the defence forces, would, from March this year, be taxed 2.5% of their salaries to access a government initiated loan scheme.
However, in Parliament Thursday, Chinotimba argued that deductions were unjustified.
He warned these could provide spark to an already volatile situation which has seen the average citizen struggle to afford basic needs.
“Mthuli Ncube on Wednesday exempted the private sector and proposed to charge a 2.5% on civil servants’ salaries to subsidise garrison shops that provide basics for members of the army,” Chinotimba said.
“Is the (public service) sector responsible for the army’s welfare alone or the army protects and is for the whole nation? This causes anarchy but the tax should be charged against everyone just like the Aids Levy that has been levied against all sectors.
“Civil servants were given an insignificant increment recently, so levying them now will cause unnecessary demonstrations. Minister Ncube should come to Parliament and explain through a ministerial statement why civil servants alone. The burden should be for everyone,” said Chinotimba amid applause from both the MDC and Zanu PF MPs.
Last week, government was forced to reverse an unpopular decision to hike public examination school fees that had been approved following an outcry.
Zimbabweans felt the hike was unjustified considering poor salaries being earned by parents and guardians.
Meanwhile, some politicians took to Twitter to criticise Ncube’s decision to levy 2.5% from civil servants’ salaries.
MDC Secretary for Education, Fadzayi Mahere wrote Thursday: “So when the ‘Best Finance minister’@MthuliNcube goes back to teaching at Oxford, will he include garrison shops, mealie-meal coupons and Command Agriculture in his curriculum? If these hare brained schemes are a joke in the real world, why should they be acceptable in Zim?”
Mahere accused Ncube of trying to rob civil servants to feed the army.
“Why must the hungry feed the hungry?,” Mahere queried.
MDC Vice President and former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti said under the current leadership, the country was going nowhere.
“Having lost the backing of Fund shareholders Mnangagwa’s government has nowhere to hide. An urgent rethink is required. Resolving the political crisis, attending to structural reforms, national convergence and a disruptive agenda is the only solution,” Biti wrote on Twitter Thursday.