Outrage over Zimbabwe’s tax on spectacles


from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEANS, already burdened by worsening economic crises and other exorbitant taxes, have bemoaned the imposition of a 15 percent tax on spectacle frames and lenses.

This tax is projected to push the price of spectacles up, at a time spectacles are a need for a significant portion of the country’s 16-million population. The elderly would be the most affected.

Hopewell Chin’ono, a fierce critic of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)-led government, described the tax as ‘unfortunate’.

“Such policies will negatively impact accessibility to essential goods for people with eye problems,” he said.

He said in addition to the price of spectacles projected to increase by 15 percent, there would be another extra 5 percent customs duty tax ,which makes the frames and lenses 20 percent more expensive from today.

Chin’ono said the development, which he called ‘Eye Tax’, would impact badly as most people who wear such spectacles were struggling because their pensions and savings were eroded by inflation.

“The tragedy is that these taxes are taken to big luxury cars and flying in private jets when old people in rural areas are struggling to see because they can’t afford spectacles!” Chin’ono said.

A majority of Zimbabweans on X, formerly Twitter, also expressed anger.

Fadzo Benjamin voiced, “I do not know an economy that grew through taxation where unemployment is 95 percent.”

Mlungisi Dube, bemoaned, “This is terrible.”

Tendai Ruben Mbofana, said the tax was heartless and callous.

“The disgraceful regime doesn’t even appear to appreciate that those of us who wear prescription spectacles are actually living with an eye defect which (in most cases) was never our choice,” he said.

Chido Chemoyo rejoined, “This government is shameless. They want to squeeze every penny out of the citizens.”

Michelle Newton responded, “This is crazy l swear. Stealing from poor Citizens…Next we are going to be taxed for going to the toilet.”

Zimbabwe‘s government is heavily taxing citizens.

Two months ago, finance minister Mthuli Ncube introduced a proposal for property tax on houses in which individuals owning houses valued at US$100 000 or more would be required to pay 1 percent of the market value of their houses.

Pensioners have also cried foul over exorbitant tollgate charges, ranging from $4 (R76) to $8.

This is slammed as a deterrent to travel.

– CAJ News

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