A civil society organisation (CSO) says the government must repeal Statutory Instrument 25 of 2020 which exempt Chinese telecommunications Huawei Technologies from pay taxes.
Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) says the government must instead respect Section 119 (3) of the national constitution which clearly states that “all institutions and agencies of the State and government at every level are accountable to Parliament”.
“In the interest of constitutionalism and the rule of law, the government must submit its intentions to exempt Huawei from paying income tax to Parliament and it will be the role of the legislature to consult the public, debate and scrutinise this intention and see whether it serves the collective aspirations of Zimbabweans,” the organisation says.
“The government must always be guided by the 4 Rs that speak to tax justice in the country: raise revenues equitably, redistribute income and wealth to address poverty and inequality, reprice goods and services – especially critical in the context of health and climate problems and representation of taxpayers as citizens.”
The CSO revealed its concern that the income tax exemption violates Section 298 (1) (b) (i) of the Constitution which states that “the burden of taxation must be shared fairly.”
“ZIMCODD is gravely concerned by the unscrupulous trend of bypassing Parliament which is the constitutionally mandated law-making institution,” the organisation says.
“The move supports the trending discourse of state capture by the elite as this Statutory Instrument is protecting the interests of a foreign monopoly prejudicing the country of the much-needed revenue to invest in basic social service delivery that will see millions in the country escape from the poverty cycle.”
“Instead of exempting Huawei Technologies from paying income tax, the government should be more concerned with how its domestic resource mobilisation can be further enhanced by taxing rich companies so that the welfare and developmental interest of the poor who are already reeling under the heavy burden of taxation are met,” ZIMCODD went on.
Huawei is a major telecommunications player in the country.
Government officials have been quoted in the local press advocating for such companies to be exempted from taxes.