BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
INDUSTRY and economic analysts have urged Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to address issues of confidence deficit, corruption, policy inconsistencies and taxation, among others, in his 2020 National Budget to be unveiled next month. Ncube is expected to present his 2020 national budget in mid-November amid widespread pessimism. Speaking during the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce trade and investment conference in Bulawayo last week, industry officials and analysts said without addressing those issues, the budget will achieve nothing.
“For me, the budget needs to address the issue of confidence deficit. The issue about confidence building has to do with policies and I don’t know whether our budget is going to address those issues,” economist, Brett Chulu, said.
Chulu said the budget should also speak to issues contained in the transitional stabilisation programme, a short-term economic blueprint running from October 2018 to December 2020. Government should also avoid policy inconsistencies, he noted.
“In terms of taxation, the normal practice in business is that businesses spend before they are taxed. That’s normal, but in Zimbabwe people are being taxed before they spend. I think that issue needs to be addressed,” he said.
Chulu added that the 2% tax needed to be scrapped because it was increasing the cost of doing business. ”There are too many taxes. If you look at agriculture . . ., the number of taxes are countless. We need to reduce those taxes,” he said.
Businesses also felt government should cut corporate tax or align it with other countries in the region like Botswana. An official from Elevate Trust, Admire Nyamande, said there was need for the budget to address innovation as a key issue.
“Right now we are seeing global companies closing down. Recently, we had Nokia almost at the verge of closing down but they had to come back due to innovation. To get the investors interested in investing in our local businesses, there should be confidence when it comes to innovation. What kind of graduates are we producing who make it to industry? If we are not innovative enough, then in means businesses will suffer at the end of the day,” Nyamande said.
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Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe immediate past president Tapiwa Chizana said there should be investment into curtailing corruption because that also affected the confidence levels.
Bulawayo City Council financial director Kimpton Ndimande said government should make available soft loans for local authorities for infrastructural development.
“Government should also give us money to take care of our vulnerable in society. We used to have appropriations from government for that,” he said.
In his 2020 budget paper, Ncube speaks of the 2020 budget enhancing revenue collection through advancing the ongoing Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and other administrative reform initiatives on broadening the tax base and closing revenue leakages.