New Zim tax will 'pick-pocket the poor': MDC

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Zimbabwe’s MDC party has slammed a new 2% tax on electronic transactions, which it says is meant to “pick-pocket the poor”.

New Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Monday the new charge was designed to expand the tax collection base.

Many within Zimbabwe’s vast informal sector do not pay income tax, but the MDC said the revenue raised would be used to “fund the lifestyles of the political elite”.

In a statement, party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said with chronic shortages of hard cash, Zimbabweans had no choice but to use electronic money transfers, and now they would be punished for it.

“This is a war being declared on a particular class of Zimbabwe, the working people,” he said.

Other prominent Zimbabweans weighed in with their criticism.

'This is not right'

“Have the authorities considered the impact of this decision on the already rampant price increases?" asked lawyer Fadzayi Mahere on Twitter.

Activist Evan Mawarire called the government's new tax "unjust". He wrote: “They specialise in making us poor. How many times will you rob us and expect us to be okay with it? This is not right, it is unjust and it is cruelty to an already struggling people.”

The tax on electronic transactions was proposed in February by top MDC official Eddie Cross, when he was still an MP. He said the measure would be effective in collecting revenue from the informal sector, where most economic activity takes place, according to New Zimbabwe

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