THE cash-squeezed government of Zimbabwe has found a way out of its financial quagmire… taxing its more than four million citizens in the Diaspora.
Senior government sources revealed this week that the government has started working on modalities after Finance Minister presented his budget review last week to make sure that each member of the Zimbabwean Diaspora community pay between US$25 to US$100 per month depending on where they are based.
Those in the SADC region would pay US$25, those on the rest of the African continent would pay US$50 and those based overseas would pay US$100 in presumptive tax per month. This is expected to generate at least US$200 million for the government every month. “Other countries do it (taxing their citizens based abroad)”, the official said. “If they can send $2 billion home a year, it means they can surely afford to pay slightly more for the good of their country.”
She said those who cannot immediately afford to pay the tax would be required to apply for exemption for a period not exceeding three months, while those who try to avoid the tax would risk having monies they send back home garnished by the taxman or having their assets or those of their relatives attached and sold. Asked if this would allow the Diasporans to vote in future elections, she said those decision would be made in the future. Zimbabwe is facing economic challenges as a result of the illegal and criminal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.
Last week John Panonetsa Mangudya , the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said Government had identified the need to widen its focus and expand diaspora participation in the country’s economic turn around strategy.