The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has expressed its disappointment with the national budget presented by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, calling it a tragedy.
The Secretary General of ZCTU, Japhet Moyo, stated that the erosion of purchasing power has worsened the situation for the poor and vulnerable, especially the working class.
“The proportion of the working poor has increased markedly with average salaries lagging behind the poverty datum line (PDL),” he added.
Moyo criticized the government for imposing taxes on ordinary people, including fuel tax, wealth tax, and sugar tax, as well as sharply increasing passport, toll, and vehicle registration fees.
“These proposals clearly indicate that the powers in government are detached from the lived realities of most citizens,” he said.
He also expressed concern that the tax regime in the country is already burdensome and will result in a drastic increase in the cost of accessing public services, transport and logistics, the price of fuel, and the overall cost of doing business in the country.
“A sensitive government would not punish its struggling citizens by taxing them to the marrow,” he added.
Moyo warned that service providers will cushion themselves by parcelling the burden to the end user by charging exorbitantly.
“The cost of living will spike in 2024 and poverty levels are likely to rise and the government has already approved the mass suffrage by turning a blind eye to the wanton pillage,” he said.
He also criticized the budget for failing to alleviate the raging informality by barring unregistered entities from buying from manufacturers.