Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has clearly run out of ideas on how to save Zimbabwe’s broke government.
Comment: The Standard Editor
Not that Chinamasa is solely to blame for the bankruptcy — both monetary and intellectual — that has afflicted the Zimbabwe government; but when he begins making crazy ideas and implementing outright cruel and inhumane policies, he cannot escape responsibility — and blame.
The state of Zimbabwe’s economy is proving way above Chinamasa’s conventional economic solutions and now requires “unknown” means of going round the problem that only President Robert Mugabe and his brave political economists can employ.
Mugabe has on more than one occasion challenged Chinamasa to own up and resign if he finds he can no longer deal with Zimbabwe’s economic jigsaw puzzle.
The $10 million varsities budget allocation “error” is one example of what desperation is doing to the Finance minister. Now he has turned on poverty-ridden Zimbabweans with a 15% punitive tax, to reap a few dollars in a clearly vain effort at resuscitating a dead body.
And when the nation cries in disbelief and revulsion, a clueless Chinamasa goes ballistic and claims that black Zimbabweans do not have a culture of paying taxes.
“If you do not want to be taxed, please do not shout and expect better service delivery… If we want good health, education and roads, we need to have a culture of paying taxes. Who then is supposed to pay taxes, as I cannot tax foreigners?” Chinamasa fumed while addressing legislators in parliament on Thursday.
It would appear Chinamasa actually believes the level of taxation in Zimbabwe is so low to a point where he believes Zimbabweans do not have a culture of paying taxes. But then, Chinamasa is a fairly intelligent mind and could not possibly believe Zimbabwe’s economic disaster is a result of people not paying tax — far from it. He is very aware that Zimbabweans are among the most heavily taxed citizens in the entire world, and that is a fact.
The point is that this government has failed to run this country and has in the process destroyed the economy of an otherwise prosperous country.
We are now unable to provide basic health services and former Health minister, Dr Paul Chimedza said it well and clearly while contributing to debate in parliament last week that this country has reached a point where it is making conscious decisions to condemn its ill citizens to death.
“I think we are very clear that, what it means when we say a theatre has been closed; it means people are going to die,” he said. “Diseases do not stop because the Health ministry has not been allocated money. So, when we say Harare Central Hospital has closed, it means our people are dying.”
The Health minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa added to the grim reality, telling Zimbabweans that of the required $1,3 billion for 2017 alone, a mere $500 000 had been allocated to health.
This kind of a gap in budget allocation cannot be explained as tax collection failure. It is clear government has failed to run the country and there is nothing the Finance minister can do about it because he as an individual is not Zanu PF nor is he the government.
Cde Chinamasa, the 15% tax on meat products that you seek to bleed from poor Zimbabweans will not make the billions of dollars that are needed to resuscitate health, education, transport, industry, tourism and all other sectors that are also in the intensive care unit.
Zimbabwe’s state of affairs is beyond these piecemeal, trial and error and ill-fated experiments that the Finance ministry seeks to play around with.
There is nothing much in the form of solutions that is expected from the upcoming monetary statement given signs on the ground — including the direction that the US dollar/bond note relationship is going.
All we are saying Cde Chinamasa is that please, do not burden an already suffering populace with more taxes that further compromise their livelihood. When desperation makes you contemplate to raise road traffic fines, you should know you have failed and the option, which Mugabe has kept open, is for you Cde Chinamasa, to resign.