Outgoing Law Association of Zambia President Linda Kasonde has described the newly introduced Borehole Tax as a completely absurd tax.
Ms. Kasonde who is also a Tax Lawyer and Partner at Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde & Company said is actually quite unconscionable and completely outrageous that Zambians are being taxed for the Council’s failure to provide a service for which they pay rates or taxes for.
In a series of Tweets, Ms. Kasonde observed that the only reason people get boreholes is because they either do not get a regular supply of water from the Council or it does not supply them with water at all. She said if the Council supplied a regular and consistent supply of water to all citizens, they would not be having this conversation.
“The cost of electricity to run a borehole pump is more than it costs to get Council water. Regulating boreholes is not the same as taxing them. You can regulate how many boreholes can be in a given area e.g. per sq km or how deep they should go. But you can’t tax someone for something you’re failing to provide,” Ms. Kasonde stated.
“Next they’ll tax us for using generators and inverters when there’s no power. I’m probably giving them ideas!” she wrote cheekily.
Yesterday, Minister of Water, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Dennis Wanchinga, said that the regulation of ground water as a resource has been misunderstood and a lot of wrong information has been put up on social media.
Dr. Wanchinga disclosed that in line with the provisions of the water resource management Act number 21 of 2011, government is implementing the newly issued Statutory Instrument in order to regulate the harvesting of underground water.
Dr. Wanchinga said this when he officiated at this year’s World Water Day held under the theme “Nature for Water”, in Kabwe.
Dr. Wanchinga said unfortunately, the issue has been misunderstood with some people peddling a lot of wrong information through social media intended at misleading the masses.
He said his Ministry will very soon issue very strong and comprehensive clarifications over the matter to protect the people from misinformation.
The Minister said people are being told that anybody with a borehole will have to pay K800 every month which is totally untrue.
Dr. Wanchinga explained that all government is doing is to ensure that every borehole in the country is registered in order to be able to estimate ground water harvesting and keep track of boreholes for sustainable management of the water resource.
He added that people with boreholes will only be required to pay registration fee once in a life time of that respective borehole or household.
Dr. Wanchinga further said government is aware that it has not provided water to every household in all areas and that some people live on farm lands and may need to drill boreholes while some may even have to dig wells depending on their capacities.
He further added that, government position is that people should not use well water for drinking unless they are sure it is safe.
The Minister observed that in heavily populated areas in Lusaka, shallow wells are one of the drivers of the Cholera outbreak.
Dr. Wanchinga warned people promoting wrong information to stop spreading falsehood adding that, government does not intend to over burden people with water taxes apart from registration fee.
He noted with gratitude that government has demonstrated commitment to ensuring that the country accelerate its efforts for the realisation of the national vision 2030 that aims at making the country a middle prosperous income by 2030.