By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ECONOMIST Eddie Cross Friday left business executives and other invited guests at the CEO Africa Roundtable in Harare, in shock after he proposed that Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube must increase transactional tax from the current 2% to 5%.
In October 2018, Ncube introduced a 2% tax on all electronic financial transactions as part of the government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme (STP).
However, the decision had rippled effects as it saw the skyrocketing of prices in both goods and services as the market responded to the new measures in order to stay afloat.
However, Cross feels the 2% being collected by the Treasury is not enough and wants Treasury to increase it to 5%.
“Because 2%, (is) 2 cents in a dollar for God’s sake its nothing. We don’t notice it, okay, but it balances our budget and today it is the biggest source of revenue than VAT (value added tax) and everybody pays it,” he said.
“Moreover, it is the most efficient tax in our system. It costs us nothing to collect, and it’s an electronic transfer. And to me that’s the way to go, that’s the future, the past is PAYE (Pay As You Earn), corporate tax and other things.
“If I was the Minister of Finance, I would increase that to 5 %.”
Cross added: “You know how much we transacted for the past twelve months, we transacted one trillion RTGS dollars electronically, that’s 300 million RTGS dollars per day.
“You put a 5% tax, no collection charges whatsoever, you could scrap PAYE, (and) you could scratch corporate tax. You would have to collect anything. You wouldn’t have accounts to submit to ZIMRA, ZIMRA wouldn’t need 300 000 staff, they wouldn’t need an audit, your PAYE would disappear.
“People would earn their income without tax to me everybody wins, quite compelling. Recognise that this is where the world is going and I think it is a welcome development.”
Cross is also a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) chaired by the central bank’s governor, John Mangudya.