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Mthuli Ncube increases toll fees by 150% in US$ terms

by Staff reporter
30 Nov 2023 at 20:08hrs | Views
Due to limited resources, Finance and Investment Promotion Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has presented a 2024 National Budget totaling ZWL58.2 trillion, implementing deep tax measures to address financial constraints. The theme, "Consolidating Economic Transformation," is based on extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including Parliamentarians, MDAs, business, labor, academia, civil society, youth, women, small-scale entrepreneurs, and miners.

Ncube revealed that funding requirements (bids) amounted to ZWL$110 trillion, surpassing the available ZWL$58.2 trillion, constrained by a sustainable revenue to GDP ratio of approximately 18%. Notably, Welfare-related Ministries received significant allocations, with the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry receiving ZW$8 trillion, Higher Education ZW$2.3 trillion, Public Service ZW$2.3 trillion, and Health and Child Care obtaining ZW$6.3 trillion.

The Land and Agriculture Ministry was allocated ZW$4.2 trillion, while Security Ministries secured substantial funding, with the Defence Ministry receiving ZW$3.6 trillion, Home Affairs Ministry ZW$3.9 trillion, and the Office of the President and Cabinet obtaining ZWL2.1 trillion.

Ncube emphasized the fiscal policy focus on maintaining a sustainable budget deficit within the SADC macroeconomic convergence threshold of not exceeding 3% of GDP. The government aims to consolidate stability, facilitate economic transformation, and preserve disposable incomes in 2024.

In an effort to widen the fiscal space, Ncube subjected Civil Servants' US$300 allowances to pensionable emoluments from January 2024. Despite inflation challenges, he maintained the Income Tax revenue category, setting a tax-free threshold of ZWL$750,000 per month.

Ncube also adjusted the tax-exempt threshold for withholding tax on agricultural commodities, increased tax on high-value vehicles, and reviewed the Strategic Reserve Levy on diesel and petrol. Toll fees on premium roads, such as Harare-Beitbridge and Plumtree-Mutare, are proposed to increase from January 1, 2024.

Additionally, a new levy of US$0.02 per gram of sugar in beverages (excluding water) is introduced from January 1, 2024. The forecast for 2024 includes an anticipated annual inflation ranging between 10% to 20%, reflecting tight monetary and fiscal policies, with economic growth projected at 3.5%.

Source - newzimbabwe