By Obert Simwanza
The Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) has said that the proposed amendments to the controversial mining taxes will adversely affect the estimated revenue from the 2015 national budget.
ZCSD executive director Lewis Mwape said that his organisation had maintained that the 2015 budget was a disaster and would therefore urge the government to take the budget back to parliament for ratification because of the significant amendments that have occurred both on the revenue and expenditure sides.
“We regret that the proposed amendment to the mining taxation will upset the estimated revenue that will in turn affect service delivery especially the uplifting social infrastructure in rural areas meant to curb poverty and inequality,” he said
He said that ZCSD expected the government to focus on enhancing local resource mobilisation and ensure that the people of Zambia have maximum returns on their nature resources.
Mwape said Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda should be commended for his earlier direction to ensure Zambians benefited from the mining industry by introduction of mining taxation that was based on production.
The tax system, Mwape said was easy to track and operationalise and enabled Zambia Revenue Authority to collect relevant taxes from the mines.
“ZCSD is also concerned with the manner the highest office of the land, the Republican President is being engaged by the individual mining companies as the decisions coming from State House have the potential to erode the institutional integrity of relevant government agencies,” he said.
Mwape said that he hoped that the amendments being proposed could also be accompanied by regulations that would enable ZRA to collect mining taxes without complications.
“We also call upon the mining companies to be transparent in their dealings and should NOT take advantage of government’s good will in this matter,” he said.