PARLIAMENT has invited views from the public on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Debt Assumption Bill which will transfer the $1,3 billion debt from the central bank to government.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development David Chapfika yesterday told journalists during a media briefing that it was imperative for people to speak out because taking over of the RBZ debt by government had effects on the tax payers.
“The debt came by during the hyperinflation era when RBZ had assumed quasi fiscal activities, and although it was not an ideal thing to do, it was necessary because they had mobilised resources to keep government going,” Chapfika said.
“In simple terms when we talk about debt assumption, it means government is now taking over the debt that the RBZ was carrying in lieu of quasi fiscal activities the RBZ used to undertake.”
Chapfika said the Bill, if passed meant that government will now take over the debt, which was also going to impact on everybody in the country.
“It is not only the creditors (those owed money) who will be affected, it will be you and me who will pay through our normal taxes. However, the tax regime will remain as it is, but it will put pressure on the Ministry of Finance.
“If government takes over that debt it will enable the RBZ to carry out its business in terms of money supply, being lender of last resort and other duties,” he said.
The committee will gather oral evidence in Mutare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare from Monday next week to Thursday.
“After the public hearings we are going to produce a report that we are going to table before Parliament before the Bill is debated and passed into law,” Chapfika said.
Meanwhile, Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) castigated Zanu PF MPs who were clapping hands while Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced new tax measures on vehicles and cellphones.
“How can people cheer and clap hands when the Finance minister is announcing measures that will further burden the already burdened tax payers. I think some Zanu PF MPs have no clue about what is going on during budget statement presentation because if they did they would not clap hands,” Maridadi said.