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E400 – E60 = E340; E859 – E128.85 = E730.15; E3 500 – E525 = E2 975. Compare these new taxes to: E400 – E56 = E344; E859 – E120.26 = E738.74; E3 500 – E490 = E3 010.

What is this madness about? This is what the increment of Value Added Tax (VAT) will do to the income of some citizens of this country. This is how they will be getting poorer through being taxed yet there is no increment in their income. Senior citizens of this country are getting a meagre E400 per month and are actually getting things to the value of E 344 per month because they are taxed 14 per cent of everything they purchase.

That is excluding the non-rateable items. So in reality they are being given E344 per month because the rest goes back to the government that gives it to them. When the increment on VAT is implemented, senior citizens will be actually getting E340 per month. That is E4 per month from what they have always been getting. That is E48 less per month per person.

We have heard that the Regulation of Wages (Domestic Employees) Order of 2018 gives domestic workers a minimum salary of E859 per month. That means domestic workers will actually be getting E738.74 per month. With the increase of VAT, they will be getting E730.15 per month. The rest goes to government. That means per year they will now be giving government E103.08 more than what they have been contributing. The last calculation is the E3 500 minimum wage proposal that has been advanced by the labour movement. And I am just giving an example about it because we are still far from getting there if in 2018, some people are still to get less than E1 000.

My question then to those who planned the increase and those who allowed it is; “Is this it?” Is this what you want to see happening to Swazis? Is this fair to the people who are to be taxed so that it becomes easy for SRA officials to do their counting? Why are the SRA officials being taken care of at the expense of the whole people of the country? Should the whole nation suffer just because government cares a lot about the SRA officials? I smell a rat here.

Would I be wrong to say SRA is being made a scapegoat for the increase of taxes?
When introducing the increase of taxes by the Ministry of Finance and those who are supposed to be representing the poor allowing that to happen, what was in their mind? Did they think of the person who has to stand in the sun the whole day during construction work and get a very small salary that must be taxed to finance the living of others? Did they think of the people working for municipalities collecting all sorts of garbage that I shudder to even think of?

Did they consider the security guard who has to spend the whole night outside just to be paid a lousy salary allowed by the very same government? Did they consider the civil servant who is crying for a cost of living adjustment that the very same government is refusing with? Did they consider the elderly who have not received any increment to what they get monthly as a grant?
All these people and more others are going to feel the pinch of the increments in taxes yet there have been no raise in their emoluments. Is this what our parliamentarians and Cabinet want to see of Swazis?

And they will be going out telling us that we must re-elect them? What is even more worrying is that some people were cushioned for these tax increments in advance to the detriment of the majority.
I can now see why some officials were suddenly given increments despite protests from others. It’s just that we did not know at that time why this was being done yet it was to cushion them from these taxes. Do I see some ‘animals more equal than others’?

What is even worse is that taxes hit hard on the poor and the money is not used for their benefit. The report by the Auditor General is very worrying because it seems the money we are taxed is to finance abuse as almost all the ministries are not getting clean audits.
There is a lot of over-expenditure that is not explained.

Fuel consumption is a free for all in ministries and cars that are not even serviceable are still filling fuel and no one is raising a finger to stop that. Instead poor Swazis are taxed heavily so that those few benefitting from the taxes should continue to get more. Is this fair to the taxpayers? Is this it?  

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: Incentives
Should civil servants receive incentives too?