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ZIMBABWE Fight Inequality Alliance, a coalition of 18 lobby groups, is advocating for government to introduce wealth tax to address economic inequality and developmental deficits in the country.

In its input into the 2022 national budget, the alliance said Zimbabwe had a taxation system which penalised the poor and vulnerable.

As such, the alliance said the 2022 national budget should provide for tax relief measures to reduce the tax burden on the poor and marginalised Zimbabweans whose disposable incomes have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is expected to present the 2022 national budget this month.

“The 2022 national budget must introduce wealth tax to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor through ensuring that those with more are taxed more. (It should also) introduce and provide for lifestyle audits for public officials to reduce fleecing of the national purse which tends to shift the burden of resource mobilisation through taxation to citizens,” the alliance’s position paper read in part.

Ncube was also urged to reduce the tax burden on citizens through strengthening domestic resource mobilisation, curbing illicit financial flows and plugging mineral resource leakages.

The organisations said the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the social vulnerabilities in Zimbabwe.

“The 2022 national budget must, therefore, ring-fence the 2% tax for social protection and allocate at least 4,5% of the national budget towards social protection,” the paper said.

The organisations also urged Ncube to allocate more resources to cater for the people with disabilities including those in schools.

This should include making a provision for their assistive devices, they said.

The alliance added that Ncube should allocate funds towards assisting women and youth businesses to recover from the COVID-19 shocks.

“The budget must also make provision for safeguarding COVID-19 relief funds to ensure that the resources reach intended beneficiaries through putting in place deterrent mechanism frameworks against perpetrators. Set up a COVID-19 recovery fund to cater for vulnerable groups.”

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