Broaden tax net, State urged

BROADING the tax base by incorporating the informal sector will ease the burden on the formal sector through collection of more revenue, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says.
JCTR social and economic development programme officer Bwalya Musoma-Mutumba said the tax burden is being shouldered by few workers in the formal sector.
In an interview in Chipata recently, Mrs Mutumba said if poverty is to be reduced in Zambia, Government should start taxing the informal sector by creating tax bands for them.
“In fact, the informal sector is like a black market and those, for example, selling in tuntembas [make shift stalls] should also be taxed because they are making a lot of money which is not taxed,” she said.
Earlier, in her presentation at the JCTR consultative meeting, Mrs Mutumba said there is need for Government’s efforts to be channelled towards implementation of policies and programmes that translate into real growth.
Currently, Zambia faces a paradox where the economy has been steadily growing in the past 10 years but poverty levels have remained constant.
Despite registering some economic boom, Western, Northern and Eastern provinces have remained the poorest areas in the country.
Mrs Mutumba said although Eastern Province is the largest contributor to the national food basket, the people are still wallowing in poverty.
Other measures that could be implemented to reduce poverty include building enough storage facilities to avoid post-harvest losses where maize grain goes to worst considering that Government has embarked on economic diversification and prioritised agriculture, among other sectors .
Zambia’s vision is to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030 with a strong and dynamic industry that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all.

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