Home » Industry » Mid-Term Fiscal Proposals an Act of Tax Barbarism

The fundamental flaw and evil of government’s latest fiscal pronouncements is the fact that some men are forced to pay to support ideals diametrically opposed to their own.

This is a profound violation of an individual’s integrity and conscience. We certainly do not agree with the aggravated tax assault, insult and barbarism that the government must tax its citizens until their very last cent as long as there is a fiscal deficit. It is viciously wrong to increase the tax burden on the already choked tax- payers through proposed increases in the quantum of tax or new taxes on fuel, employee benefits, meat, detergents, data and voice transmissions.

The government, through its fiscal authorities, must be reminded that money is a private property that also deserves protection from arbitrary expropriations from government, just like cars, houses and business enterprises.

We may have to agree with Ayn Rands’ idea that a man has a right to the fruits of his labour and that it is viciously wrong to take money from rational economic people for the support of ideals they are absolutely opposed to such an intrusion by force is a violation of individuals’ rights. John Locke proposes that a man has rights to own property and that property includes the output of his person, and in fact, his personage itself:

“Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, is properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.”

In theoretical terms as deduced from Socrates to Hobbes the “moral imperative” is the idea that the existence of a sovereign state rests on its ability to guarantee the best interests of its own citizens. It is certainly not in the best interest of the citizens of this “sovereign state” to have policies that so far have caused the acceleration of deindustrialisation, informalisation of the economy, structural regression, bloated civil service, ghost workers, ill corporate governance in state enterprises and parastatals, avoidable and unnecessary government expenditure and this thing of budgeting money that is not available and will never be available.

What this country requires is not to increase the tax burden on its people but to increase the tax base. The increase in the quantum of tax is an incursion to an individual’s own right and to his own person.

The ideas I propose hereunder are driven at increasing the tax base rather than placing an inordinate tax burden on the dwindling and ill-paid tax base of the existing taxpayers. The will to initiate and deploy is what is critical. The solutions I propose here are fundamental but remain basic:

The government must ease the bureaucracy and red tape of setting and doing business in order to attract and retain investment.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel as Rwanda, Ghana and Botswana amongst other countries are highly rated in that respect.

We can certainly learn on how they travelled that path. In strategic innovation, it’s an imperative to copy, leapfrog and improve inventions.

Opaque investment policies must be discarded and replaced with clear and consistent investor- friendly policies. As a start, government ministries must sing from the same hymn book.

l Engage the diaspora for investment by easing the investment methodologies and develop platforms to access the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, alternative stock exchanges, their political inclusivity and ease of setting and doing business.

Improve investment inclusivity and democratise economic participation by setting an alternative stock exchange for small and medium enterprises.

Comprehensive labour law reform that recognises that common goodwill be satisfied by enabling each individual to be as successful as is possible and that success will filter to others through jobs and opportunities of the individual. The present labour laws are inhibitive to corporate success, restructuring and reorganisations.

Privatisation and commercialisation of state enterprises and parastatals most of them no longer fitting the definition of “strategic to state interest”. In any case most are not dispensing the strategic intention of the state.

Tax reform to reduce the cost and ease of doing business. Tax reform will ideally include setting up of special economic free zones in strategic towns and cities outside Harare like Bulawayo, Mutare, Victoria Falls and Beitbridge. They must encourage the setting up of business at growth points to curb rural to urban migration that causes infrastructure stress on municipalities and city councils.

Initiate and adopt a comprehensive corporate governance framework for listed firms, alternative exchange listed firms, state enterprises, parastatals and public interest firms. The “comply or explain” corporate governance framework will inspire confidence to potential investors that the firms are being directed and controlled in a transparent and accountable manner, especially when twinned with appointment of independent, non-aligned and competent directors as the majority on the respective boards.

Encourage self-sufficiency in rural households through their economic inclusion in co-operatives, micro banking institutions, micro and small enterprises and redeployment of competent and motivated agriculture technical extension workers.

Improve financial inclusivity in banks, insurance, building societies and micro financial institutes.

Encourage domestic, regional and international tourism through inclusivity in product offering. For instance, a holiday package for every civil servant will reduce dependency on other markets.

To neither look east nor west but to look at the world as the source of investment and tourism. Relentless engagement is required.

In theoretical terms, the idea of “sovereignty” from the time of Socrates to that of Hobbes has always necessitated a moral imperative on the entity exercising it. This “moral imperative” is the idea that the existence of a sovereign state rests on its ability to guarantee the best interests of its own.

Just like Benjamin Franklin said, in truth justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are and as Samuel Adams postulates, that it doesn’t take the majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority keen on setting the bushfires of freedom on the minds of men.

If a state no longer acts in the best interests of its citizens, is it not legitimate to think that it no longer can perform its moral imperative and should cease to exist or be replaced with a state that can?

Source : Zimbabwe Standard