ActionAid Executive Director Pamela Chisanga says it is ludicrous that the Zambian Government has moved to tax Non-Governmental Organisations whilst offering hefty tax breaks to multinational companies operating in Zambia.
Ms Chisanga was commenting on government’s decision to issue statutory instrument 103 suspending tax exemption facility for NGOs.
In an interview, Ms Chisanga said Zambia is losing huge financial resources through tax avoidance and evasion by multinational companies.
She said it is absurd that the government can now focus on taxing NGOs when it is reluctant to move in and address tax avoidance concerns in most of these multinational firms.
“As Action Aid, we have constantly pointed this government to areas we feel need to be addressed with regard to multinational firms avoiding or in some cases evading to pay the correct amount of taxes and this government has not paid any attention to those concerns,” Ms Chisanga lamented.
She added, “We therefore find it ludicrous that they want to tax NGOs working to help the poor whilst leaving out the multinationals.”
She said Government will infact not raise adequate revenue by removing the tax exemption facility to NGOs to import equipment such as vehicles.
“Government should even come out and tell us how many NGOs even enjoyed that facility. What is true is that most NGOs did not qualify. So how much are they even going to raise through that SI? The truth is that they will not even collect that much revenue because NGOs do not even use that facility that much.”
Ms Chisanga said government should focus on undertaking a comprehensive review of the country’s tax regime if it genuinely wants to increase its tax revenue.
“They should examine some of these tax breaks or incentives they offer to these multinationals before targeting innocent NGOs,” she said.