I am not materialistic – Chikwanda

MINISTER of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has said material trappings have never been and will not be a thrust in his life.
Mr Chikwanda has also accused some media organisations of using individuals to “indulge in obscenities and falsehoods” against him.
The minister was reacting to media reports quoting former Anglican priest Father Richard Luonde and Chikondi Foundation president John Mambo suggesting that he is double-dealing the Zambian government with the mines.
He said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that he opted to accept President Sata’s call in 2011 to reinforce the pushing forward of the development agenda which is already transforming Zambia in a way not seen before.
“We are on course in making an impact on reducing or better even eradicating pervasive poverty that engulfs our nation. I hasten to say material trappings have never been and will not be a thrust in my life,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He said some people for reasons best known to themselves have carried out an “insidious” slander campaign against him during his reign as Minister of Finance without moral reference.
Mr Chikwanda said the latest spate is over the Value Added Tax (VAT) General Administration Rule 18, which is premised on distortion from a classified letter which talks about the uncertainty on the VAT rule.
He said the VAT rule affects all exporters across the industry and not the mining sector but the mines were mentioned as an example because they have the largest accumulated backlog of refunds, which under the law have to be refunded.
Mr Chikwanda said the delays on the refunds have largely been on account of the rule requiring documentation from importers outside Zambia.
The minister said he has desisted from pouring scorn on people who are being used by some media institutions to scandalise him for avoidance of giving “legitimacy to their insinuations and credibility to their unconstrained enthusiasm” to slander others.
“Some media practitioners have unassailable advantage of perpetuating crusades against individuals who are perceived as inconveniences to them, shamefully, at the behest of political allies whose mission may have crash-landed,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda said the media is a very potent channel of communication and those with power to manage it should do so objectively with moral constraint.
He said he is heading a ministry entrusted with an onerous task of spearheading the management of the economy and staff at his ministry work exceedingly hard in an environment with poor work culture.
Mr Chikwanda further said the spirit of togetherness and fellowship in Zambia is very entrenched and that space for ardent apostles and high priests of hatred and malice will get increasingly narrower.

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