21 December 2012

Zambia: Seal Tax Loopholes, Saasa Urges Govt

ECONOMIST Oliver Saasa has said revelations that K40 trillion was siphoned out of Zambia reflects serious lapses in the tax system which the current Government should urgently address.

And the Zambia Congress of Trade of Unions (ZCTU) says the loss of the K40 trillion between 2000 and 2010 was evidence of a failed tax monitoring system under the MMD administration which the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership should immediately address.

Professor Saasa said in Lusaka yesterday that the country had continued to lose huge amounts of money through tax evasion and corruption.

He said the Government should seal all the loopholes, especially in the mining sector.

"This is a wake-up call for the PF Government to institute measures to overhaul our fiscal tax regime. There is no need to lose trillions," he said in an interview.

Prof Saasa hailed the pronouncement by Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda that the matter would be probed.

ZCTU leader Leonard Hikaumba echoed similar concerns on the need to curb tax evasion as evidenced through the revelation by the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity in its report.

Meanwhile, Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) has indicated that all taxes, royalties and other dues to the Zambian Government are paid in line with the country's legislation.

The mining company is audited annually by Deloitte and its accounts have always been given a clean bill of health and kept at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is contained in the April 2012 submissions by Glencore International Plc, the major shareholders of MCM and made available to the Times in Kitwe yesterday by MCM head of communications and public relations, Cephas Sinyangwe.

"Mopani is convinced that the taxes, royalties and other dues to the Government have always been calculated and paid in the proper manner in line with the applicable legislation," read the submissions in part.

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