Workers say Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s ‘anti- welfare’ budget has strong traits of capitalism |

By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has slammed the just passed 2024 National Budget describing it as largely anti-welfare.

This follows the tabling of a ZW$58,2 trillion National Budget by Finance and Investment Promotion Minister, Prof Mthuli Ncube on Thursday.

The blueprint has not excited many ordinary citizens due to the heavy taxes introduced on assets such as residential property, vehicle importation, and passport fees among others.

Speaking on the Budget Friday, ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo said they noted with shock and disbelief the proposed 2024 National which has “strong traits of capitalism” with tragic consequences to workers and the ordinary person.

The labour leader said vote allocations made towards Welfare-based institutions are still lagging way behind regional and global benchmarks.

“For instance, education got the highest vote at Z$10.3 trillion constituting 17.7% of the total vote allocations; this is still below the Dakar Declaration target of 20%. Health got Z$6.3 trillion (10.8%), a decline from the 11.2% allocated in 2023, below the Abuja Declaration target of 15%.

“Agriculture got Z$4.3 trillion, which is 7.4% of the total votes and is below the Maputo Declaration target of 10%.

“The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare which is responsible for social protection got ZW$2.4 trillion, which is 4.1% of the total votes and 1.5% of GDP. According to the Social Policy for Africa Agreement (2008),” he said.

The labour organ said best practices entail African governments to spend at least 4,5% of GDP on social protection adding that the country is also in the midst of a cholera outbreak and addressing this requires significant public investments in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

“However, the government has allocated ZW$ 608,3 billion towards WASH which represents just 0.4% of GDP, which is way below the 1.5% of GDP benchmark set under the eThekwini Declaration (2008).

“The Global Task Force on Cholera Control considers WASH investments as the foundation to achieving the goal of reducing cholera deaths by 90% by 2030,” said Moyo.

The ZCTU said the budget is hinged on brutal taxation failing to rescue the already underpaid workers by pegging PAYE tax-free threshold to a paltry Z$750000-00 from 1 January 2024.

He opined that a fair tax-free threshold in USD was more sensitive and welcome to workers than this pittance which would be eroded to nothing before it was even effected.

“The average minimum wage in Zimbabwe as at October 2023 was about US$230. The World Bank’s international poverty line is US$2.15 per day. In South Africa, according to the latest Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) of June 2023, the average monthly earnings (including bonuses and overtime payments) was R25,994 (US$1,365.95) in May 2023,” added Moyo.

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