Acting President Inonge Wina has appealed to the Zambia Revenue Authority(ZRA) to proactively engage all stakeholders to help the country cultivate and sustain a positive culture of paying taxes among the citizens.
Mrs. Wina said ZRA should forge effective partnerships with other enforcement agencies to undertake joint enforcement in order to reduce enforcement costs and make tax administration more cost-effective, efficient, equitable, simple and responsive to economic growth.
Mrs. Wina said this during the official opening of the ZRA Service Centre at the Cosmopolitan mall in Lusaka yesterday.
She said there is need to ensure that there are no sacred cows in the tax system hence, the need to make the taxes fair for every tax payer as there is one sure way of reducing the poverty levels for people than them having more disposable income.
Mrs. Wina commended the ZRA for reforming and modernizing its operations to suit the needs and expectations of its stakeholders.
She stated that it is only through such initiatives of taking services closer to the people that voluntary tax compliance will increase in the country.
Mrs. Wina noted that it is important to reduce the cost of compliance for the people if the country is to widen the tax base.
She said government will like to see that while Zambians pay taxes, the tax burden should not stifle their livelihoods.
Mrs. Wina is hopeful that the minister of finance will consider the plea of not burdening ordinary Zambians with taxes as she presents the 2019 National Budget.
She said the Patriotic Front has not deviated from the desire to put more money in the people’s pocket as it has been the founding principal of the party manifesto and remains committed to it.
Mrs. Wina added that, the desire of government is that tax administration should be more consultative and responsive to the peculiar needs of all taxpayers.
She said government will continue to support initiatives aimed at strengthening stakeholder engagement and enhancing the public confidence in the country’s revenue mobilization systems.
Mrs. Wina explained that at the same time, it is important to ensure that the tax burden is fairly distributed according to the principal of ability to pay and if taxpayers in reciprocation voluntarily recognize their moral and civic duty to pay taxes.
And ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda revealed that the institution’s intention is to increase its presence throughout the country in order to make it easier for people to pay taxes.
Mr. Chanda explained that that is the reason for continuously taking services closer to the people.
Meanwhile, Acting Minister of Finance, Emerine Kabanshi said the ZRA Service Centre will not only increase revenue collection for the provision of public goods and services but will also reduce the cost of compliance for the taxpaying public.
She assured ZRA of continued support to achieve sustained modernization and automation of revenue collection processes coupled with an upscale in taxpayer education and advisory services.