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Broaden tax base, State urged

NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola
STAKEHOLDERS expect Government to broaden the tax base by incorporating more tax-payers from the informal sector as Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda presents the 2016 national budget to Parliament this Friday.
Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) president Ackim Mweemba said in an interview yesterday that Government should put more emphasis on broadening the tax base and reducing income tax (Pay As You Earn).
Mr Mweemba said they also hope that Government will allocate more funds to the agriculture sector and spell out measures to diversify the economy.
“As a union, we are happy that President Lungu was part of the United Nation’s delegation to adopt sustainable development goals whose aim is to support inclusive growth.
“For the country to achieve these development goals, there is need to incorporate the informal sector. For a long time now, there has not been political will from Government to raise domestic revenue as only workers in the formal sector have been subjected to paying tax,” he said.
Mr Mweemba also said Government should also consider providing relief to workers belonging to different income tax bands if they are to enjoy the real benefits of lifting the wage free.
He said in the energy sector, measures should be considered for both long and short-term to address the power deficit.
Mr Mweemba said Government is also expected to come up with a fair tax regime for the mines.
“There has been a lot of uncertainty in the way the issue of mining taxes have been handled, and we hope that Government will come up with the lasting solution to get a fair tax from the firms,” he said.
ZUFIAW also expects measures to diversify the economy by, for instance, allocating 10 percent of the national budget to the agriculture sector to help increase employment opportunities and to raise public revenue.
Similarly, Ndola and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NDCCI) is looking forward to Government diversifying the country’s economic portfolio by promoting and facilitating more investments in other industries such as agriculture, processing, manufacturing, healthcare, education, tourism and other services.
NDCCI publicity secretary Paul Chisunka said Government should also put in place measures to stabilise the local currency.

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