Reconsider reviewing policies, projects, says JCTR

JESUITCentre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has advised Government to reconsider the nation’s taxation system and re-evaluate some of the current capital and infrastructure projects in view of the budget deficit.
Government’s budget deficit now stands at K10.5 billion from the projected K85 billion in 2015 for half year.
JCTR media and information officer Mwiinga Shimilimo said Government should not borrow to finance the budget deficits but should reconsider the  taxation system and some of the projects earmarked for development.
Ms Shimilimo said, “Government should not have ‘thrown away’ its mining tax regime which would have ensured a more balanced budget that could have been implemented without borrowed resources.”
She was commenting on the 2015 mid-year Economic and Budget Review Statement presented by Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda who requested the National Assembly to allow for an upward adjustment of the debt ceiling from K35 billion to K60 billion.
Ms Shimilimo said Zambia cannot continue borrowing its way out of its development challenges at every instance.
“Accordingly, we recommend a wide range of policy proposals which include a reconsideration of the nation’s taxation system as well as guaranteed public policy consistency and a re-evaluation of some of the current capital and infrastructure projects.
Government needs to do more in terms of reducing unnecessary expenditure including closure of some embassies that have hugely contributed to this crisis as the minister himself mentioned.”
She said the decline in trade taxes recorded by the treasury on account of reduction in import volume, though attributed to the high cost of foreign exchange, also stems from the administration of trade taxes.
“There is need to address recurrent failures to clear goods in accordance with the Zambia Revenue Authority service charter, owing to intermittent internet services which impinges on efficient and effective functionality of Asycuda World which results into goods being marooned at ports of entry,” Ms Shimilimo said.
She also called for the executive to put its act together by intensifying domestic resource mobilisation, rationalising expenditure and asserting the nation’s fiscal sovereignty.

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