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Cellphone tax to derail e-learning – ARTUZ

“Covid 19 has seen schools heavily relying on mobile phone technologies to conduct lessons, of which with the current settings, most TEACHERS and LEARNERS are even failing to purchase phones that are capable of smoothly conducting these lessons.” Tinotendaishe Chidhakwa Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.

The move by minister of finance and economic development Professor Mthuli Ncube to levy US $50 on all imported cellphones handset has described as a proof that he is out of touch with the reality of hardships the citizens of this nation are going through.  

Tinotendaishe Chidhakwa Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) Bulawayo Province vice Chair said the move by professor Mthuli Ncube shows his insincerity with what teachers, parents and learners  living rural areas are facing .

“This move as we see it shows that Professor Mthuli Ncube is out of touch with the reality of hardships the citizens of this nation are going through.

“In this time and age where most services are now heavily reliant on mobile technologies to function, here we see a minister who is supposed to be responsible for economic development, crafting measures that sink the country back into the stone age era.

“Covid 19 has seen schools heavily relying on mobile phone technologies to conduct lessons, of which with the current settings, most TEACHERS and LEARNERS are even failing to purchase phones that are capable of smoothly conducting these lessons.

“Some learners especially in the rural areas cannot even afford to buy the simplest of phones at the current prices, now we have a minister levelling a duty that will make the phones even more expensive. Teachers are currently earning peanut RTGS salaries and many are struggling to buy meaningful phones and will be struggling to pay that duty.’’ He lamented

The move by professor Ncube has met with disgruntlement by teachers and leaners as it reverse e-Learning especially in the face of covid19 era where lessons were conducted online.

Chidhakwa said this defies logic in development terms, it is more destructive to the economic development and citizen than development

“When citizens cannot even afford to buy a USD$30 phone, it defies all logic in developmental terms, to add an extra USD$50 on top of the phone’s purchasing price. What the heads of the government are choosing to ignore is the fact that the ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Minister is doing more destruction to the Economy and citizens than development”. He said

“This move is a huge blow to the education system of the nation as well as the citizenry as a whole. We’re living in an era where mobile phones have been playing a major role in Financial inclusion where banks and mobile money platforms have been doing a lot to ensure that money circulates even though hard cash is hard to come by, now how will people access monies if the fail to afford a phone in the first place? The truth is that mobile phones are not a luxury but a basic need for people”. He added

The media institute of southern Africa on December 1 2021 has released press statement where they castigated the proposal saying the push by parliamentarians to have the proposed levy scrapped should be upheld

Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services has Jenfan Muswere has been wretched by citizens as he remains doomed and passive on ICT matters.

Ncube’s expansionary fiscal policy will  increase government expenditure   ahead of the 2023 harmonized elections .

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