Mthuli Ncube’s Budget Misplaced Priorities: Tax on Basic Commodities Threatens Food Security

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Mthuli Ncube’s Budget Misplaced Priorities: Tax on Basic Commodities Threatens Food Security

Concerns arise as VAT on bread and mealie meal overshadows sanitary pad initiatives during the drought crisis

In a puzzling move that has left many Zimbabweans outraged, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget has been criticized for placing more importance on sanitary pads than the fundamental needs of households. The decision to impose a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on bread and mealie meal has sparked concerns over the country’s already fragile food security situation.

At a time when Zimbabwe is battling a severe drought, exacerbated by the effects of El Nino, it is crucial to prioritize the availability and affordability of basic commodities like bread and mealie meal. These staples are essential for daily sustenance, not just for women, but for all individuals, including children and men. However, the recent budget seems to have overlooked the importance of ensuring food security for all citizens.

While initiatives to provide affordable sanitary pads are commendable, it is disheartening to witness the potential negative consequences of imposing a hefty tax on the very items that guarantee the nourishment and survival of every household. The price of a loaf of bread is expected to skyrocket to $1.50 as the burden of the 15% VAT is shifted onto consumers.

The consequences of such a cost increase will undoubtedly hit the most vulnerable communities the hardest, particularly those residing in ZANU PF strongholds in rural areas. With lower-income households already struggling to put food on the table, this additional financial burden could plunge them further into poverty and food insecurity.

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Moreover, the timing of this decision could not be more inappropriate. As Zimbabwe grapples with a devastating drought, running the risk of a significant decrease in agricultural output, it is crucial to ensure the availability and affordability of basic food items. A failure to address this fundamental need may exacerbate an already dire situation, leaving households even more vulnerable and dependent on assistance.

It is imperative for the government to reconsider its priorities and place the well-being and sustenance of its citizens at the forefront. While sanitary pads are undoubtedly important for hygiene and women’s health, neglecting the food security needs of the nation is a grave oversight that cannot be overlooked.

The government must take urgent action to reevaluate its taxation strategy and find alternative means to generate revenue without jeopardizing the basic necessities of life. Collaborating with relevant stakeholders and experts to develop a comprehensive plan that can address both the immediate sanitary pad needs as well as the long-term food security concerns is essential.

The livelihoods and well-being of Zimbabwe’s citizens are at stake. Time is of the essence, as the effects of the drought loom over the nation. It is incumbent upon the government to act swiftly and decisively to rectify this misalignment of priorities and ensure that the people’s access to bread and mealie meal, the very essence of their sustenance, is safeguarded.

Mandla Ndlovu

Meet Mandla Ndlovu, our Editor-in-Chief at ZimScribes Online Magazine. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for diverse narratives, Mandla curates and leads our team in delivering captivating and thought-provoking content that celebrates the rich tapestry of Zimbabwe's culture, people, and experiences

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