President Emmerson Mnangagwa has backed his Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on the proposed tax which has upset the nation saying people have to be realistic.
Ncube proposed a two cents per dollar tax on all transactions reversing the previous arrangement under which people paid 5 cents per transaction.
Following public outcry, the Finance Minister announced a raft of exemptions but people still panicked and there was a rush to stock fuel and commodities fearing likely shortages.
There was wide speculation last week that Ncube had announced the tax without consulting Mnangagwa but the President today backed his Finance Minister, who is not a member of his party saying:
“Last week, Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube, drawing on his vast experience as chief economist and vice president at the African Development Bank (AfDB), announced a series of measures to reform and revive our economy, and put us on the path to steady economic growth.
“Cognisant of the scale and urgency of the challenges facing us, our plan is bold and far-reaching, and will have the desired effect.”
Mnangagwa, who says he is a listening President but does not have to accept or implement everything that the people say, added:
“I have read your comments and understand the difficulties many face, and Government will do all in its power to minimise them. We are already taking the lead by cutting back on unnecessary spending.
“The only way to a stronger economy is to restructure, rebuild and reform. We must all be realistic. Whatever some may claim, there are no silver bullets or quick fixes.
“There is no need to panic, and Government is guaranteeing the availability of all essential commodities, including fuel. We are on a shared journey to a better and more secure future.
“The road is long, winding and at times bumpy, but there is no other way. This is the road to a middle-income economy, and if we travel it together, with patience and purpose, we will realise our vision.”
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called on Mnangagwa, Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya to resign because they have failed the nation.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe also said the new tax is illegal because it has to be passed into law before being implemented.
Ncube already conceded to this last week and said it would come into force after being gazette.
The Finance Minister is in London where he was expected to outline his ministry’s priorities for delivering economic reform and recovery in Zimbabwe.
According to the organisers, the event was fully subscribed.