Home » Industry » Farmers Furious As Broke Government Taxes Livestock

THE Cash-strapped government has introduced a $2-per-head livestock levy, enraging villagers and farmers who have described move as a throwback to the settler Ian Smith regime.

The levy adds to other taxes imposed on farmers including land tax for beneficiaries of the government’s controversial land reforms.

Efforts to confirm the development with deputy agriculture minister (livestock) Paddy Zhanda were not successful late Tuesday but a serious cash squeeze in a failing economy has seen the government even trying to tax vendors.Trying to widen revenue streams for government … Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa

Remaining 300 white farmers on the edge

Villagers in Wedza told NewZimbabwe.com that they had been given until 4pm Wednesday to settle their livestock tax arrears by officials from the agriculture ministry.

Unimpressed, most said the government was bringing back policies once used by the reviled Smith regime which was toppled at independence in 1980 after a bitter bush war.

Some also said they did not understand where the government expects them to get the money since the State-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was not paying for grain deliveries.

“I send my maize harvest to GMB but they have not paid me and now the government wants me pay the cattle levy. Where do I get the money to pay for my 123 herd?, asked Mugove Kagonye.

“They (government) do not want us to sell our maize to any other organisation other than the GMB which does not pay … and now this directive!”

Added another villager who said he was a war veteran: “Are these our Members of Parliament who are passing these destructive policies in Harare?

“I fought to remove the oppressive colonial system and now it’s back to haunt me 34 years later!”

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) spokesperson Henrik Oliver said he was aware the government once mulled the idea of a livestock tax but was not sure if it had now been implemented.

“It’s news to me that villagers and farmers are being made to pay the proposed levy,” he said.

“I need to make a follow up with relevant authorities to get a clear picture.”

An official from the local livestock department referred questions to head office in Harare but suggested that the levy would be used to buy dipping chemicals.

Source : New Zimbabwe