RBZ Debt Assumption Bill rewards the elite

HARARE - An ominous hint that government’s parlous state of  financial desperation threatened to impinge on the economic well-being of its already impoverished citizens magnified itself when ruling elite mandarins cobbled up the ideas to consign them to the garret by introducing presumptive taxes.

Little did the overburdened mainstream taxpayer suspect that more caustic, nefarious financial obligations would be arbitrarily piled on them and future generations by way of assuming debts incurred in pursuit of expedient populism.

With the gazetting of the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill, there is no longer doubt that the ruling elite never appreciates how dire the circumstances that ordinary citizens endure. In the long term, the debt repayment will impose on generations to come — an endogenous obligation of “paying for the sins of their reckless forefathers” so to say.

Small wonder too that swirling opposition to government intentions would emerge which might unravel most of the trust that the electorate has invested in the regime of President Robert Mugabe’s pretensions of caring for the poor.

Government itself does not generate funds and largely depends on levying taxes on workers and the corporate world which translates into concomitant hikes in the prices of goods and services, crushing the well-being of its citizenry.

The Bill basically seeks to reward that exclusive clutch of ruling party elite who benefited from the Central Bank’s quasi-fiscal reckless profligacy while seeking to punish the majority of poor ordinary Zimbabweans who watched while the elite sequestrated top-of-the-range agricultural equipment for their own benefit.

A vote on the Bill will provide MPs who were the major beneficiaries of the government’s benevolence an opportunity to exonerate themselves from the financial obligations of paying for the equipment and services they received at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The Central Bank was doling and divvying largesse in form of tractors and other expensive agricultural equipment to buttress a collapsing agricultural industry and spite naysayer critics of a haphazard agrarian reform programme, thereby incurring a huge debt.

The bank promised to recover the costs of this quasi-fiscal initiatives from each beneficiary during a parliamentarian committee grilling.

Authorities said they would post debt statements at each beneficiary’s farm gate to force them to pay.

Nothing of the sort happened and now it has come to this worst alternative.

It is criminal for government to expect ordinary Zimbabweans to pay for a debt they did not benefit from on behalf of those that enjoy the use of the equipment and services. Those who benefitted must just pay.

Arguments by residents in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and other centres put forward are logical and legitimate enough for government to listen to and impose obligation on the beneficiaries to pay back the debt.

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