Transparency before more taxes, say citizens

Government should put in place mechanisms that promote the transparent administration of current tax revenue before introducing any new taxes, say citizens.

Chimedza
Chimedza

While most people agree that a compulsory health insurance scheme is a good idea, many interviewed by The Zimbabwean said transparency and accountability of public funds were vital pre-requisites.

Mary- Jane Ncube, the director of Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), said if effected and administered for its intended purposes, the health tax would cushion the marginalised and ensure the provision of quality health care services for every citizen – regardless of their economic status.

Ncube said the regulation of the informal sector was long overdue. “Failure to regulate the informal sector fuels the existence of a vibrant parallel market and this provides fertile ground for corruption,” she said.

The informal sector contributes around 19.5% of Zimbabwe's gross domestic product or a total value added of $1.73 billion, according the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat).

An economic analyst from the Industry Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said taxing every Zimbabwean regardless of their age and employment status would result in price increases.

According to the deputy health minister, Paul Chimedza, the proposed raft of taxes and introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) would result in the scrapping of the compulsory Aids levy introduced in 1999.

Citizens would contribute to the NHI through their mobile phones, value-added tax and tollgates among others.

Wellington Zindove, the national co-ordinator for Youth Forum, said although the proposal was noble, lack of confidence in government systems had the potential to derail the initiative.

"The buck rests with the government coming up with functional systems," said Zindove. "We have a government that is not accountable to anyone and currently, we have unresolved and pending corruption cases. Our past experiences have taught us that we pay, but nothing tangible happens and this makes it very difficult to believe that the money will go towards its intended purposes."

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