Former RBZ governor Dr Gedion Gono has reacted to political activist, Alex Magaisa’s information on tax payers paying for the Farm Mechanisation Scheme debt through the 2015 RBZ Debt Assumption Bill of Act saying the information is not true and lacks proper research.
In a statement, Dr Gono said he is disappointed by Magaisa’s ignorance on the Debt Assumption Act which is and was never paid by tax payers.
“First of all, I must express my prima-facie disappointment with my brother and friend of long time, Dr Magaisa for appearing not to have thoroughly read the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill which became Act in 2015. I say so because had he seemingly done so and gone through what Parliament approved , including the supporting schedules that make up the $1,3billion debt taken over by Government, he would have noticed that there is no reference to a Farm Mechanisation Program Debt there let alone a figure of $200m allegedly taken over by Government and saddled on the taxpayer via that Debt Assumption Bill of Act. There is none and no heading or description to that effect.” He said.
Dr Gono argued that tax payers are paying for other debts besides the Farm Merchanisation Scheme debt.
“It was interesting to note that 24% of the debt taken over ($309,9m)was from period 1976/7 to 2001 and the balance (76%)($962,1m)was for the ten year period that I was Governor of the RBZ, with $578,9m(60%)of that amount being borrowed for fuel and electricity, $294,5m(31%) for maize, Fertilisers, chemicals and seed, $24,3m(2,5%) going to cars for ministries and special programs like Bacossi, $26,5m (2,8%) being used for mineral audits by an international firm of experts and $7,5m(1%) being borrowed to meet mandatory retrenchment packages in 2011/12.Tobacco Farmers accrued Support stood at $22,5m( 2%) and Health and interest claims stood at $7,9m(1%).
“Farm Mechanisation is not part of any of the amounts mentioned above NEITHER does it feature as a take-over debt by the State in term of that Bill or Act, and so one wonders where the conclusion that the taxpayer was or has been saddled with a $200m debt through the RBZ Debt Assumption Act is coming from.” He said.
Furthermore, Dr Gono argued that it is normal in the world all over for the government to assist their farmers without necessarily disclosing full information to the public.
“In the farming sector the world over, governments subsidize farmers, governments buy farms and equipment for them so the farmers can grow food for the nations concerned. Some countries even go further, in difficult times, to buy the farmers produce only to throw it away, so as to just keep a farmer on the land. The money so used to buy the crop thrown away is charged to the national budget and in the end, it all depends on the objectives of the State-sponsored program(s) at that particular point time. That’s how nations survive.
“Some of these activities are publicized others are not. Those in the know of how economic crises the world over are dealt with will confirm that the Quantitative Easing Programs in the USA, Europe and elsewhere are never put on balance sheets of individual beneficiaries but are carried by the State with sub-accounting being done at micro level later.” Dr Gono said.