JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Finance Felix Mutati says Government wants the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to be more user-friendly in order to improve tax collection from the informal sector.
Speaking yesterday at a consultative forum with the Marketeers’ Association at Government Complex, Mr Mutati said his ministry will develop a practical working mechanism with the marketeers and ZRA so that “we move from ZRA being a scaremonger when they come into the markets to a friend”.
Mr Mutati said everyone needs to pay their taxes.
“Let everyone contribute, even a little amount. You know when you pay a little for something, you are going to take ownership. When you don’t pay, you have no ownership,” he said.
He said there are many people in market places who are willing to pay taxes, but they do not know how to go about it.
And ZRA commissioner general Kingsley Chanda said there is great need to broaden the tax base by including the informal sector, which is believed to be six million strong.
“Traditionally, the government has tended to rely on formal businesses to raise revenue, but recent experiences have demonstrated the need for the country to diversify and broaden its tax base. On the other hand, we are confronted with the fact that the majority of our people are poor, especially in rural areas,” he said.
Mr Chanda, however, said that the question remains how to ensure that every Zambian, regardless of their economic standing, contributes to the tax base.
“We need to think critically about how we can network and form partnerships that will make it easy for tax-payers to contribute to the treasury,” he said.
Mr Chanda hoped that the interaction with the marketeers would make it easier for ZRA to collect revenue from the informal sector.