By Tapiwa Marimo ZIMBABWE’s dilapidated road infrastructure suffering from years of neglect is now benefiting from Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s controversial 2% transactional tax.
The tax introduced last year in October has already been a subject of litigation from opposition and human rights group who argue it is illegal.
The Statutory Instrument that was used to introduce the tax has already been struck down by the High Court but this turned to be academic after it emerged Ncube had already incorporated the tax into the Finance Act.
MDC vice president and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti has indicated he will be studying the incorporation of the tax into the Finance Act with a view to challenging it.
In a statement Friday Ncube said government had committed $464 606 906 towards the upgrading of roads over and beyond the money invested by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinrara) that mainly deals with repairs.
“As part of our thrust towards development across the country as well as opening economic opportunities for inaccessible regions, government is implementing the Road Development Programme which seeks to upgrade in a phased approach our 98 133km road network.
“As at 15 October, $464 606 906 has been availed from the fiscus drawing some of the resources from the 2% Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT).
“This amount excludes support from the Road Fund (Zinara) which mainly targets maintenance programmes implemented by road authorities, that is, the Department of Roads (DOD), District Development Fund (DDF) and Local Authorities,” said Ncube.
With President Emmerson Mnangagwa anchoring his administration of transformation of infrastructure, job creation and investment under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, Ncube said a good road network is a prerequisite for social and economic development.
“Investments in a well-connected road network is good for both business and balanced development in the country. It opens up previously inaccessible areas whilst also crowding in private sector investment to our growth points and service centres, thereby stimulating economic and social development for our rural communities,” the Treasury chief said.
Ncube added that government has made significant progress had been achieved on targeted roads throughout the country where a total of $893,217,000 had been used to fund some of the projects.
According to the statement the money has gone towards the construction of Airstrips, repairing of Cyclone Idai (under Cyclone Idai projects) damaged roads and construction of the washed away Bridges in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, road construction and upgrading National Parks Roads, road surfacing under District Development Fund executed works.