GOVERNMENT says plans by the international community to tackle tax avoidance and evasion are positive and will help Zambia to reap full benefits from its natural resources.
Zambia, like many countries, has been adversely affected by tax avoidance with the country losing about US$8.8 billion in illicit tax flows in the last 10 years.
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Miles Sampa said other than subsidies, tax avoidance is another monster that needs to be nipped in the bud to curb income leakage.
“The move by the global community is a step in the right direction,” Mr Sampa said in an interview.
Last week, finance ministers from the G20 formally backed plans to tackle international tax avoidance and evasion.
The nations have also backed plans by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to stop companies from moving their profits across borders in order to avoid taxes.
Commenting on the move by the G20 countries, Mr Sampa said the country’s access to financial accounts of companies abroad will enable the country to reconcile revenues that have not been remitted.
“If Zambia will have access to financial accounts of those related companies abroad, then we would be able to fully reconcile what is taken away from us.
“If we can locate and see the exact quantum of what is effectively stolen from our tax basket, then we can easily claim it back and prevent similar occurrences,” he said.
Mr Sampa said there is need for the country to be efficient in the collection and usage of national resources if the resources are to be shared equitably.
He said the revenues from the country’s resources are key in the construction of proper infrastructure that can contribute to economic development.
“National resources should be shared equitably with poor people that have no roads, electricity, schools and hospitals in the rural part of Zambia,” he said.