Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Government should decisively deal with the scourge of corruption particularly by people of influence in society for the country to increase its revenue base, legislators have said.
The lawmakers, who were in a rare unity in condemning corruption, called for a meeting with President Mugabe.
They said they wanted to give the Head of State and Government an honest overview of the economy.
The legislators accused some Cabinet ministers of lying to the President.
They claimed some companies and individuals were underdeclaring imports and were being protected by some ministers depriving the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of revenue.
This was said during debate on the 2017 National Budget presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa last year.
Zaka Central MP Cde Paradzai Chakona (Zanu-PF) said most companies that got the bulk of Government tenders were locals but were getting away with misrepresentation of revenue and pay less Value Added Tax.
“When Zimbabwe Revenue Authority follows up the individuals would be shielded by Government ministers or senior Government officials,” said Cde Chakona.
Tafara-Mabvuku MP Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T) said his investigations had shown that a Chinese blankets selling firm was prejudicing the fiscus over $25 million by falsely declaring that they were importing fabrics when it was importing sub-standard blankets for resale.
The blankets, he said, fetched lower price than locally made ones.
This pushed local firms out of business.
Mr Maridadi brought two samples of blankets with receipts which he said he bought, one from that Chinese firm and another from a local firm.
“The firm is owned by a Chinese lady and when I went to see her I saw one Cabinet Minister in her office. I told her that the Cabinet Minister was helping her to evade tax but I warned her to be careful,” said Mr Maridadi, amid applause from the floor.
Mr Maridadi accused some Cabinet Ministers of not telling President Mugabe the truth.
He said there was need for backbenchers to request an audience with President Mugabe.
At one stage, Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF) requested Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda to extend Mr Maridadi’s time slot after it had expired.
Cde Chinotimba latter tore into Cabinet Ministers leading negotiations with civil servants saying their proposal for residential stands to Government employees in lieu of bonus payments was preposterous.
“Civil servants are earning between $300 and $500 but the Government Ministers are offering residential stands, where do the stands come from for the entire civil servants? It is only fair to say there is no money,” said Cde Chinotimba.
He agreed with the call for dialogue with President Mugabe but said it was necessary for Cabinet Ministers to be present at the meeting.
Earlier on Proportionate Representative MP Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) gave Minister Chinamasa flowers for his sterling work to try and steer the economy.
Article Source: The Chronicle