Zimbabwe: COVID-19 - Chamisa Urges Risk Allowance Payment to Health Workers

MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa says government should start paying risk allowances and also effect tax exemption on all health professionals who are the frontline staff in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

He was speaking Wednesday in a Covid-19 address broadcast online.

"Allow me to salute all workers, including doctors and nurses, our security services, on the frontline for the excellent call of duty under very difficult circumstances," he said.

"In this context, providing Personal Protective Equipment for nurses, doctors, janitors, administrative support staff, police, security services and other state employees at the frontline is so fundamental.

"Risk allowance and tax exemption for all health professionals, security servicemen and government workers on duty at the frontline."

The opposition leader urged the scrapping of some taxes burdening business at a time they are supposed to recover from the losses incurred during the government imposed national lockdown against the spread of Covid-19.

Added the opposition chief, "The following should be policy measures such as full dollarisation and removal of forex retention to aid growth in exporting companies.

"Removal of excessive tax heads, for example in the tourism sector there are 22 tax heads while mining has 15 tax heads some of which are unnecessary, and this will give room for revenue recovery.

"There should be tax incentives such as corporate tax waiver for companies supporting local production and import substitution."

He commended other African government leaders who have come up with measures that are sustainable and tailored to minimise financial strain on workers.

"Why are we not able as Zimbabwe to do the same?" he said.

"These are examples of countries which have already done that; Guinea has effected no payment of rents by workers and citizens in general up to December 2020, government has pledged to cover electricity and water for three months and free public transport for 3 months.

"Ghana government is covering all water bills for three months, some workers were exempted from paying tax for three months.

"In Rwanda, door to door food deliveries for disadvantages groups, provision of free water and electricity, provision of free hospital access and in Botswana government has put aside US$168 million to assist business to pay workers' salaries to avoid layoffs."

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