Reactions to ActionAid Report
Lusaka – Zambia’s Deputy Finance Minister Miles Sampa has said the government was putting together a team of experts to recommend ways in which the country could deal with tax avoidance issues.
“Tax avoidance is a cancer to our economy and national development,” he said, adding that Zambia had taken measures in its 2013 budget to address the problem through taxing income due to external consultants and amortising tax rebates on capital investments.
Civil Society for Poverty Reduction executive director, Mwila Mulumbi, has urged all stakeholders to expeditiously deal with the matter.
“The revelations by ActionAid … looking at the tax avoidance by the owners of Zambia Sugar is a concern that we feel the government and other stakeholders need to look into,” she said.
However, Zambia Sugar has disputed the report through its spokesperson, Lovemore Sievu.
Sievu said the firm had not done anything “illegal, immoral” or in any way designed to reduce the tax rightly payable to the Zambian government.
“We categorically deny the report by ActionAid. The report is absolutely full of inaccuracies. Zambia Sugar meets all its legal obligations, including tax.” Sievu claimed that the firm was the largest tax-payer in the agriculture sector.
ActionAid Zambia country director Pamela Chisanga said tax avoidance by multinational corporations hurt poor people the most.
“If Zambia is ever going to end its dependence on foreign aid, it must first be able to raise the money needed to provide for its own citizens.
“Taxes are a sure source of sustainable income. Taxes pay for critical public services like healthcare, good infrastructure, clean water and many other social amenities,” she said.