2024 National Budget: Mthuli Ncube forced to revise wealth tax, passport and toll fees |

By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter

Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Mthuli Ncube, has responded to public concerns and parliamentary feedback by adjusting key elements of the proposed 2024 national budget, specifically addressing the wealth tax, passport fees, and toll increases.

In the 2024 budget proposals, Ncube suggested an introduction of a one percent wealth tax to owners of properties valued at more than US $100 000 and below the age of 70.

Responding to findings from different parliamentary portfolios, Ncube revised the wealth tax.

“On the wealth tax Mr Speaker Sir, again I accept the contributions from the public, from the Portfolio Chairpersons and Members of Parliament that we need to move the threshold.

“Some Members suggested that the 70 years exemption should be brought down to 65, again I agree with that, that we must exempt the primary residence of an owner of a property,” said Ncube.

“I agree with that, actually it is just that when we announce these things sometimes we use a broad brush but we already had this in mind to make these adjustments when we come to this Statute and make it clear, so the primary resident is secluded. I am proposing a new threshold of US$250 000.”

On the issuance of passports, Ncube had initially proposed to increase the charges on both ordinary and emergency passports by US $80 to US $200 and US $300.

“It is just that when we were having the discussions about modernizing our borders, we wanted to be the first country outside Dubai to have an unmanned border post where you can walk in because now we have an e-passport with a chip in it.

“You can walk in and the gates open, your passport is read. You do not talk to anybody. We want that equipment here by the end of 2024. We have to be modern. That is what motivated us. It is the kind of thinking to say we need resources to support the Ministry of Home Affairs and we thought that increasing passports was one way to do this.

“Someone proposed that rather than USD120 for an ordinary passport, let us make it USD150. It is a proposal, but for the express passport, the 24-hour passport, anyone who needs it urgently is often those who can afford it. That one should be USD250,” said Ncube.

The proposed 100% increase for basic toll fees and premium road tolls was met with concerns, prompting Ncube to propose a more modest 50% increase for both categories.

“We are proposing that rather than increasing the basic toll fee by 100%, I am now proposing that we increase it only by 50%. We have lowered the increase. The same applies to the premium roads, again I am not proposing the full amount but only half of that,” the minister said.

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