By Kenneth Matimaire
MARANGE villagers relocated to Arda Transau have pleaded with government to abolish its “punitive” 2 cents per dollar Intermediated Money Transfer Tax.
The villagers said they are trapped between a hard place and a stone having been relocated from their mineral rich ancestry homes and dumped in Arda without compensation.
They further indicated that the recent economic measure by government, comes down heavily on the already impoverished community.
Speaking at the Operation Hakudzokwe Commemorations at Betera Primary School, the villagers urged government to implement pro-poor economic policies.
They were organized by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG).
“Our diamonds are being taken and we have been displaced from our birth place and dumped in an area where we are struggling to make ends meet. As if that is not enough, government comes in to say we should be taxed 2 cents per every dollar. Surely how do they expect us to live?” lamented Mynas Matanda relocated to Arda Transau Resettlement Area to make way for government sanctioned diamond extraction in Chiadzwa.
Government introduced the 2 cents per dollar tax on all monetary transactions conducted electronically.
Scores of other villagers who spoke to Radio VOP at the sidelines of the program said the controversial policies will further impoverish the marginalised.
Letwin Daure said though government is not taxing transactions below $10, most essentials goods were now above that mark.
“I don’t think government really sat down to think of the implications that this would have on us. 2 litres of cooking oil is going for $10 or more here. We don’t have OK or Pick n Pay to buy cooking oil at the prices the government wants. Should I now travel all the way to Mutare to buy groceries?” questioned Daure.
“I have to buy three basic goods like cooking oil, sugar and soap. You will find that they are already above the untaxed transfers yet government said they came up with that limit for the betterment of the poor. But my question is who did they consult?” said the irate villager.
Normatter Mutsago also had no kind words over the government’s capitalistic policy.
“This government is purely feeding from the poor and they don’t care about us. The new policy confirms this. All these ministers will not survive their own policies if they were walking in our shoes,” said Mutsago.
Headman Mukwada said government should listen to the plea of his suffering community.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa who described himself as a listening leader, had revealed plans to review the policy a second time.