The UPND has welcomed the changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax, in the 2019 national budget. UPND Spokesperson, Charles Kakoma said that the changes have come at a time when Zambians are feeling they were not benefiting from the mineral resources. Mr Kakoma has described the changes as fair. He was speaking in an interview with ZNBC News after the budget presentation.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe proposed to lift the suspension of the export duty on manganese ores and concentrates which was put in place in 2012 and increase duty by 15 percent from 10 percent in the 2019 national budget.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe who presented the 8th National Budget to parliament since the PF administration came into power, further proposed to introduce an export duty on precious metals including gold, precious stones and gemstones at the rate of 15 percent.
She informed the house that import duty at the rate of 5 percent on copper and cobalt concentrates will be introduced in the 2019 budget.
The Finance Minister stated that mineral royalty tax will be made non-deductible for income purpose.
Mrs Mwanakatwe also said that government will continue to promote exploitation of industrial minerals and gemstones by making available geological information.
Mrs Mwanakatwe told Parliament that the Development Mineral Capacity Building Programme that seeks to promote small-scale mining will continue in 2019.
She stated that government wants to see mining companies engaging in environmentally and socially responsive mining.
The Finance Minister informed the house that government has made progress in the implementation of the Mineral Production Monitoring Support Project aimed at enhancing monitoring of mineral production and exports.
Mrs Mwanakatwe disclosed that currently all the large scale mining companies are on the system.
She informed the house that the system will be extended to small and medium mining companies as well as other minerals beyond copper.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said the system will empower government to collect accurate revenue from mineral royalties and other mining taxes.
Meanwhile, The Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) said that the 2019 budget gives a lot of hope. BAZ Chairperson Kola Adeleke says the budget has addressed issues to do with revenue collection.
Mr Adeleke said that Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has broadened revenue collection and that the budget has given a lot of confidence to both foreign and local investors.
And, French Ambassador to Zambia Sylvain Berger said that the 2019 budget austerity measures are necessary given the country’s macro-economic conditions.
Mr Berger said that the measures are likely to benefit both the corporate and social sectors. He said his government will keenly follow the implementation of the announced policies.
And COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe has described the budget as bold. Ms Kapwepwe pointed out the changes in the mining tax regime which are likely to boost revenue collection.
Economic Association of Zambia president Lubinda Haabazoka said that the budget contains a lot of positive steps like the sales tax.
Dr Haabazoka said that the budget reflects the country’s current macro-economic conditions.
However, UPND former Chief Whip and Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo described the budget as cosmetic as the previous budgets that have been presented in the past years.
Mr. Nkombo told journalists at parliament buildings that the budget was sugar coated to make citizens feel as though things will get better, when the worst is yet to come.
He has predicted that come March next year, the cost of living will be unbearable as commodities will go high and citizens will be taxed more.
Mr Nkombo stated that money has been put in non priority areas such as public order which he says is not necessary because the country is not in any war situation.
He has further pointed out that the allocation of 6.1 billion Kwacha towards road infrastructure and for continuation of the Link Zambia 8000 project puts the government at loggerheads as it is against what the government has been preaching on prioritizing projects that are 80% complete.
Mr Nkombo has since urged Zambians to brace themselves for harder times in 2019 as they will have to tighten their belts.