By Alois Vinga
CIVIL society organisations have pleaded with Finance minister, Mthuli Ncube to direct the 2% tax earnings towards the upkeep of the country’s poorest citizens saying poverty levels in the country have reached alarming levels.
A total of 20 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) under the banner, Zimbabwe Fight Inequality Alliance (ZFIA), filed a pre2022 pre-budget petition urging the treasury boss to consider the poor.
“The welfare of citizens should be number one priority for the 2022 National Budget and must; therefore, ring-fence the 2% tax for social protection and allocate at least 4,5% of the National Budget towards social protection,” the grouping said.
The alliance said there must be an allocation of resources to cater for the people with disabilities in Zimbabwe including those in schools saying this should include making a provision for their assistive devices.
The NGOs said the number of citizens living in extreme poverty is overwhelmingly high with over 2,8 million people relying on the assistance of the World Food Programme in partnership with various humanitarian organisations such as World Vision, Care International, Goal International and Plan International.
“There is a need to allocate funds towards assisting women and youths’ businesses to recover from the COVID-19 shocks. The budget must also make provisions for safeguarding COVID-19 Relief funds to ensure that the resources reach intended beneficiaries through putting in place deterrent mechanism frameworks against perpetrators and set up the COVID-19 Recovery Fund to cater for the vulnerable groups,” said the NGOs.
Ncube was urged to adhere to the eThekwini Declaration and allocate at least 1,5% of the budget towards water provision amid calls to relieve tax burdens from the poor citizens.
“The 2022 National Budget must provide for tax relief measures to reduce the tax burden on the poor and marginalized disposable incomes that have been severely affected by the pandemic. To cover for this gap, the government must introduce Wealth Tax to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through ensuring that those with more are taxed more,” said the petition.
The civil society added that the government needs to put in place lifestyle audits and block illicit financial flows which continue to expose the nation to huge losses.