ZwNews Chief Correspondent

With the resumption of parliamentary business, legislators have exhibited their eagerness to quiz the Minister of Finance and Economic development Mthuli Ncube to enlighten them on his recently announced fiscal policy.

A lot of questions await the minister in the house, as some legislators believe the recently pronounced fiscal policy leaves a lot to be desired, fail to address government consumption, amid over-taxing the already burdened ordinary person.

Ncube had apologised to the speaker of the house, saying he was unable to be present in the august house owing to other pressing issues.

Contributing in parliament yesterday, Members of Parliament (MPs) expressed dismay over the non-availability of Ncube to attend to their burning questions, regarding the policy. MP Innocent Gonese set the ball rolling saying he would have liked the minister to be present in parliament to clarify on a number of issues arising from his fiscal statement.

“The monetary and fiscal review announcements presented on Monday are critical matters which affect the generality of Zimbabweans, who are waiting for answers and clarifications. My request is for the minister to be summoned to come to this august house or to present a ministerial statement on the fiscal policy,” he said.

In response, the Speaker of parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said it was impossible for Ncube to be invited to be present in the house at that time as he had sought leave, but indicated that the message will be relayed to the minister.

Tendai Biti chipped in and asked the Leader of Government business in parliament Hon Mudenda, on why is it that the minister jumped to tax citizens as if the heart of the problem was revenue collection. Biti who was once a finance minister at some time, believes the prime reason why Zimbabwe is in an economic messy is more to do with government carelessness in spending; than it is lack of revenue collections.

“In the absence of the minister, my question to the Leader of the House is: What is the rationale behind the policy of restructuring the transaction tax from 5 cents per transaction to 2 cents for every dollar in a bid to purportedly address the budget deficit?

“The biggest challenge we have here is fiscal indiscipline and over expenditure and not necessarily revenue collection or quantum of revenue.

“Why are you doing that?”

In response, Mudenda placed Biti’s question on standby saying it was covered by Gonese’s request to have the minister called in or to make a ministerial statement answering the issues raised.

Meanwhile, the recent monetary and fiscal policy announcements have raised a lot of questions among the transacting public in different corridors as many fear the return to the 2008, when a lot of people lost their savings in bank balances owing to identical policies.

In a related matter, the announcement has since brought some confusion among some business people who are still not sure on how their pricing systems would be affected.

Some entrepreneurs who were interviewed by this publication in the Harare Central Business District hinted that they were contemplating the three-tier pricing, to account for rates distortions in the current multi-currency system as a result of the announcement of the policy measures.

Anyway, in that regard, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya has warned that the government is putting in place measures to curb the multi-pricing system within the economy, saying it is counter-productive and illegal to do so.

“Multi-pricing and refusal to accept plastic money is counter-productive to the successful and unparalleled efforts achieved so far in the promotion and usage of plastic money in Zimbabwe.

“Businesses will need to be reminded to show respect to consumers and to exercise self-discipline under the new economic dispensation.

“It is against this background that the 2018 Finance Bill which has now gone through Parliament and now awaits approval by the Senate is making these malpractices of multi-pricing and the refusal of plastic money illegal,” said Mangudya.