DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Chipata
HIGH multiplicity of taxes and levies in the local hospitality industry is making business uncompetitive and negatively affecting domestic tourism, Hotels and Catering Association of Zambia (HCAZ) has observed.
HCAZ eastern region chairperson Elvis Mhone said there is need for Government to harmonise multiple high taxes and levies that are being charged on guesthouses, lodges and hotels.
Mr Mhone said in an interview on Monday that hospitality establishments are being taxed and levied heavily.
“For example, we are being made to pay K2,250 registration fee annually to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts without consideration that local authorities and tourism-related agencies are also charging high levies separately,” he said.
Mr Mhone said despite paying the high registration fees, the establishments are also made to pay annually tourism enterprise licence fees to Zambia Tourism Agency and are charged per bed space at K66.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Arts also demands that managers’ licence fee paid to them [and] at the same time, the local authorities will be demanding and charging ground rates and liquor licences,” he said.
Other levies are business levy, fire, health permit, food handling among others.
He said those in the hospitality industry also pay statutory obligations to Zambia Revenue Authority, Patents and Companies Registration Agency and National Pension Scheme Authority.
“Most of the establishment regardless of their sizes are paying more than K100, 000 annually in ground rates, taxes and levies to Government, local authorities and tourism-related agencies,” Mr Mhone said.
Meanwhile, HCAZ has welcomed Government’s move to make tourism an economic sector.
Mr Mhone, however, said despite the high cost of doing business, HCAZ has continued to promote the sector through the establishment of more lodges.