Following the introduction of Statutory Instrument 20 of 2017, which imposed a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on meat, meat products, and cereals among other things, legislators from different parties were united in condemning the move. The price of chicken has already gone up by 40 percent. The MPs told Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa to find alternative sources of revenue for the government instead of taxing citizens.
Irene Zindi, the Zanu PF legislator for Mutasa South, told Chinamasa that it did not make sense to expect the people to have money when the government itself was broke:
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This idea that each time government needs money we go back to the people, impose taxes and increase prices isn’t good. These are people whom we know are earning $200 so where do we think the money is coming from?
How many families in this environment are going to be affected? The pain is more felt by those already poor. Children are going to be more stunted. Minister please find another way than to keep on milking penniless people.
MDC deputy president, Thokozani Khupe seconded Zindi saying the government needed to generate revenues through other means, not taxes:
So, I am appealing to the Minister like I said earlier on to say you cannot raise enough revenue through fines. Let us do the geological survey that we have been talking about from time immemorial. This will allow this country to generate billions of dollars.
Outspoken Norton MP Temba Mliswa, who is an independent, also said that the government should deal with corruption and cut expenditures instead of focusing on taxing people, whenever they needed money.
People are suffering; we are being insensitive to their plight by not providing solutions. Government has a tendency of working up to introduce a tax, you must ask yourself where is the money coming from if you are failing to do it yourself?
What should be done is deal with the issue of executive expenditure. The level of corruption is out of this world, policy inconsistency, these have become an impediment to foreign direct investment. Can we bring the executive to order please!
Mliswa also suggested that a real economist was needed to manage the country’s finances saying:
I appreciate minister Chinamasa works hard but working hard is not the same as working smart. From history, I think we need economists to do this job.