Mthuli Ncube calls for political reforms

Mthuli Ncube calls for political reforms
Published: 20 October 2018 (387 Views)
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has urged the government to be receptive to the reform demands of the opposition and Western powers - as this will enable Zimbabwe to access help from overseas companies and multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News yesterday, Ncube - who has come under heavy fire for his economic stabilisation programme - also said the new two percent tax that he recently imposed on every dollar transacted was reasonable compared to similar taxes in the region.

"There is also the issue about Zidera (the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) by the United States, which in my view … as Zimbabweans and government, we should embrace its principles in the sense that if it's about opening up democratic space - which is what this is about - that should be a natural progression for Zimbabwe as we move to the club of upper-middle income countries by year 2030.

"So the issue now is also about the financial impact. Zidera has a financial impact which restricts US companies and banks from extending lines of credit to Zimbabwe.

"But the principles of it are not an issue as far as I am concerned. These are the things we should be doing for ourselves without anybody telling us - whether this relates to Posa (the Public Order and Security Act) and Aippa (the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act)," the well-regarded former banker said.

"Those are the things that will eventually be reviewed and then the electoral reforms will also be dealt with, and so forth. I am talking about the political issues which link to the current (economic) environment," he added.

This comes as the United States government has been giving President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration some encouragement - indicating very strongly that it is willing to end more than 15 years of Zimbabwe's international isolation if the country implements key political and electoral reforms.

Prominent US senators, Jeff Flake and Chris Coons - who are both members of Washington's Senate Foreign Relations Committee - met Mnangagwa in Harare to convey this sentiment ahead of the July 30 elections.

The two men are behind a new sanctions bill that amended Zidera - which introduced punitive measures against former president Robert Mugabe personally, as well as many of his senior officials and State entities.

The successor law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act of 2018, contains conditions which are specific to Mnangagwa's new dispensation.

If Harare meets these conditions, President Donald Trump's administration has promised to scrap the sanctions and normalise relations with Zimbabwe which have been frosty for more than 16 years.

In yesterday's interview with the Daily News, Ncube said the negative reaction by many Zimbabweans to his new tax policy was "normal", as was usually the case with any new such policies.

He said the new tax was a desperate attempt by the government to contain Zimbabwe's large budget deficit, as the country had been spending far more than it was producing.

"So the solution to containing the budget deficit is two-fold. There is the revenue expansion side and then there is the cost containment of expenditure.

"It also happens that the Zimbabwe economy has become more informalised, while more people are also on electronic platforms.

"So, we felt that the best way to get everyone to pay their taxes, to have an inclusive tax regime, is to target electronic transactions," Ncube said.

"And by the way, our rates are not even the highest on the continent. There are some countries - I don't want to name these countries - which take 10 percent, 12 percent and so forth. So, two percent is not the highest," he added.

Following Ncube's pronouncement of the new tax regime, some Cabinet ministers also openly expressed their unhappiness over it.

However, the affable Finance minister said the new tax was not just the "perfect instrument" to mitigate the current situation, it had also been effected after thorough research.

Ncube further said as a way of containing its costs, the government would look at reducing waste - including re-looking the issue of motor vehicles for ministers and members of Parliament - which has currently been suspended as the government seeks an equitable solution.

"We are putting together a policy that we think is equitable, that will help us to manage expenditure, including on things such as vehicles and the wage bill.

"While those things are being negotiated, we are writing papers. Before any policy is pronounced, we actually do research on it," he said.

Meanwhile, labour unions and civic society organisations have savaged the country's new tax regime, which came into effect on October 13. They are also threatening to
take to the streets over the issue.

Civil society activist Mfundo Mlilo has also since approached the High Court - challenging the tax regime which he says is illegal.

Turning to the rampaging foreign currency parallel market - which has led to price hikes and commodity shortages - Ncube said he had no control over this, arguing further that this was not being caused by his new two percent tax.

He also said that there was no justification by retailers to increase the prices of commodities based on the new tax regime.

- dailynews


You May Like These Videos


There are no comments.

Latest stories

Army rescues St Charles Lwanga students

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 52 Views

Government assures the nation on adequate grain in silos

by Simbarashe Sithole | 18 March 2019 | 47 Views

Linda Masarira speaks on deadly Cyclone Idai

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 61 Views

5 important parts of a blog post

by Jeremy Biberdorf | 18 March 2019 | 51 Views

Man drowns in bathtub

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 65 Views

Mthuli Ncube avails $50 Million to deal with Cyclone Idai

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 65 Views

PHOTO: Chiwenga back in good health

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 72 Views

Herald Editor clashes with America

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 68 Views

Death toll in Zimbabwe rises to 98

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 63 Views

Government responds to Kasukuwere's threats

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 121 Views

Suspected copper cable thieves electrocuted

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 95 Views

WATCH: Jubilation as Chamisa lands in Chimanimani

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 134 Views

US 2018 Human rights report on Zimbabwe biased

by Nobleman Runyanga | 18 March 2019 | 79 Views

Beyond the New my foot!

by Sam Wezhira | 18 March 2019 | 73 Views

Buyanga's AMG offers assistance to cyclone victims

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 88 Views

Joshua Nkomo's family describe Mnangagwa's govt as a 'dead donkey'

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 87 Views

High Court to decide Parirenyatwa's fate

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 71 Views

Komichi to appeal against conviction

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 67 Views

Mugabe's ex-deputy minister's house auctioned off

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 81 Views

Kasukuwere threatens, Zanu-PF ruffled

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 87 Views

'Zimbabwe embassies must issue IDs, passports'

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 59 Views

Small house challenges $50k adultery damages

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 69 Views

US 'very enthusiastic' about Mnangagwa govt

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 86 Views

President Mnangagwa a Tonga from Zambia?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 141 Views

Bus swept away in Chimanimani

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 130 Views

Chipinge MP's wife survived by climbing a tree

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 118 Views

Zimbabweans struggle with storm floods

by Al Jazeera | 18 March 2019 | 104 Views

Jonathan Moyo recruits Kasukuwere

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 124 Views

Chamisa descends in Chimanimani as Cyclone Idai kills 82

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 94 Views

Rhodesia was 'successful' because essentially it was a province of SA

by Baffour Ankomah | 18 March 2019 | 96 Views

Army dumps Chipinge pupils?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 18 March 2019 | 88 Views

Chamisa in pole position as MDC Alliance congress beckons

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 52 Views

Mnangagwa back from UAE

by Staff reporter | 18 March 2019 | 67 Views

Mnangagwa to swear in Chidawu today

by Ndou Paul | 18 March 2019 | 70 Views