Zanu PF Matabeleland South Senator Richard Ndlovu has challenged Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to guard public funds against rampant abuse by ministries and other government departments.

He was contributing to debate in the Senate Tuesday on Ncube’s new range of taxes and statutory fee increases contained in the treasury boss’s 2024 budget statement.

Ncube introduced a range of taxes such as sugar levy, wealth tax.

He also hiked road toll fees, passport application charges as well as vehicle registration fees, among others.

The new taxes and increases are set to take effect January 1, 2024.

Ndlovu said Ncube should not just busy himself with widening the country’s tax bracket but should make a corresponding effort to protect the public resource from abuse by his government colleagues.

He queried where funds collected from motorists were going when some of the country’s roads were still in a woeful state.

“Also coming to the taxes which the minister has mentioned, we are accepting them, but we want to know are these taxes being used effectively or they are being abused?” Ndlovu said.

The Zanu PF lawmaker said major urban areas such as Harare and Plumtree still lagged behind in terms of road maintenance and access to tap water despite taxes being collected every day.

“Looking at the roads that are in Harare, we are asking that the minister … be a supervisor and overseer to make sure that the funds that are allotted to different ministries and departments of government are being effectively used or they are being abused.

“If that oversight role was being done by the minister, our cities would have had a great difference,” he said.

Despite paying taxes, people in Plumtree do not have access to potable water, Ndlovu said.

He also said Beitbridge had nothing to show in terms of development despite boasting of a well-constructed border post where millions are being injected in terms of duty.

Ndlovu added, “In some places, there are a lot of indicators that funds are not being used effectively. There is a lot of abuse of funds. I am appealing to the minister to look into this.

“We accept and applaud you for preparing such a budget, but we want to make sure that everyone does not abuse his or her office and money is not abused.”