HomeAnalysisCandid Comment: Govt robbing citizens through high taxes

Candid Comment: Govt robbing citizens through high taxes

FUEL prices spiked twice within a week due to varying reasons.

The government blames the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has pushed global oil prices.

This has certainly increased the cost of living for the ordinary Zimbabwean whose salary in Zimbabwean dollar continues to depreciate.

Workers have lost buying power; they have essentially lost their dignity, as the two decades long economic malaise remain unsolved.

As the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) revised fuel prices to peg petrol at US$1,67 per litre and diesel selling at US$1,68, Energy and Power Development minister Soda Zhemu made callous remarks.

He suggested that motorists park their cars “because the government has already gone ahead of this situation that we are into currently by providing these buses.

Let us make use of the Zupco buses to and from our work stations”.

These infuriating words by Zhemu sparked criticism against the decadent government, which charges high taxes on fuel.

Zimbabweans are overtaxed; even some countries in war situations endure lesser tax regimes. Just on fuel, government charges road levy, carbon tax, debt redemption, strategic reserve levy, and storage.

More fees on fuel burdening the consumer, include handling, clearing agency fees, financing cost, inland bridging cost and secondary transport costs.

This is what makes fuel more expensive compared to other countries in the region like Zambia where diesel is US$1,19 and US$1,21 for petrol.

What Zhemu needs to suggest is a reduction of taxes charges on fuel to ease the burden on Zimbabweans.

The Energy minister is already a hated symbol of the government as he has failed to solve the electricity shortages.

Power cuts are worsening under his watch.

It is sheer arrogance for the government to ask motorists to make sacrifices without the state playing its part.

The executive — presidium and cabinet ministers – live undeniably lavish lifestyles sponsored by the taxpayer.

Ministers like Zhemu drive luxury Toyota Landcruisers, Range Rovers and Mercedes Benz, bought and maintained by the taxpayer whom he is telling to depend on Zupco buses.

The public transporter is unreliable.

In fact, the buses were grounded without fuel as Zhemu told the nation to park cars.

A more efficient public transport system is desirable.

If government is serious about austerity measures, it must cut on buying luxury vehicles for public officials and top bureaucrats.

Fuel and other taxes such as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) need a relook. Government taxes are eating into workers’ measly Zimdollar salaries; it is a painful situation.

Zimbabweans have endured economic problems for way too long.

The ruling elite should be sensitive to the needs of the ordinary.

While the Russia-Ukraine war is a contributing factor in the increase of fuel prices, the tax regime must be revised to increase citizens’ buying power.

Otherwise there is no poverty alleviation to dream about in Zimbabwe.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

NewsDay Zimbabwe will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.