THAT the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has collected K10 billion in various taxes against the
target of K8.3 billion which was projected for the first quarter of 2017, is good news for the country.
According to ZRA commissioner general Kingsley Chanda, the strong performance of domestic value added tax (VAT), mineral royalty, company tax and customs duty have greatly contributed towards attaining the K10 billion mark by the end of the quarter.
This is very encouraging because, if the current trend in revenue collection through these taxes continues, the authority is likely to collect much more than the K42.94 billion domestic revenue that should finance the national budget this year.
The result, therefore, should be that this domestic revenue cushions the Treasury. This entails that, with more funds available, it will be easy for the government to channel money to support growth in the key sectors of the economy.
There will be increased funding to social sectors such as education, health, and the growth sectors like agriculture and infrastructure which are crucial to the country’s development.
With improved roads in different parts of the country, for instance, it will be very easy for farmers to transport their agricultural produce to the markets. Such measures will also prove to be time-saving and enhance efficiency among transporters of goods such as minerals, among others.
With regard to the country’s road infrastructure, the funds from toll fees being collected by the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) from the established toll plazas in various parts of the country, including Manyumbi, Shimabala and Kafulafuta, will help to supplement the area of local revenue collection and contribute towards meeting the target in the national budget.
It is this same domestic revenue that the ZRA is collecting which will also enable Government to pay and quickly dismantle arrears to suppliers of goods and services in different sectors of the economy.
The effects of the economic recovery programme on the vulnerable in society will be easily mitigated, too, through realisation of more revenue from the domestic tax base.
The ZRA’s efforts to broaden the tax base should be extended to the informal sector, besides the already captured sources that include pay as you earn, VAT, mineral royalty, company tax and customs duty.
Ensuring compliance among all parties with regard to remitting taxes to ZRA, coupled with the mineral value chain pilot project which was launched last year – targeting mining firms – will also help in collecting the much-needed domestic revenue.
Recently, the firm revealed that it had witnessed improved voluntary compliance due to the application of an automated customs graduated penalty system.
This measure and others such as the customs self-assessment have helped the authority to improve its tax collection processes.
We can only urge the ZRA to continue the good work it is doing for the well-being of not only the economy, but also the citizens of this country while the government and all its development partners are seriously working on improving the citizens’ livelihood.
ZRA is on course in ensuring that the country’s economy completely recovers.