Economics Association of Zambia President Lubinda Habaazoka has charged that some “experts” were paid huge sums of money to organize and lobby for the retention of Value Added Tax in the 2020 national budget.
Reacting to the decision by Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu to scrap off Goods and Services Tax and retain VAT in the 2020 national budget, Dr Habaazoka said Zambia has again lost out to mining houses.
He said with VAT refund arrears in the excess of $600 million, the only people smiling their way to the bank are “Consultants” that were handsomely paid to de-campaign GST.
“The Zambian has lost a chance to fix the problem with companies using fake VAT refunds as working capital. The Zambian government has indeed a huge tax ahead to fund public expenditure and also provide working capital to companies through the so called VAT refunds,” Dr Habaazoka said.
“Ordinary citizens meanwhile shall continue paying high taxes with no hope of reduction as mine owners and their hired guns celebrate yet another victory.”
He added, “This time, citizens can’t blame government on the GST decision because its pressure from citizens and the opposition forces themselves after being convinced by paid consultants that also led to this.”
“As you breathe in center in Mufulira don’t forget that air in Switzerland is very clean and that investments in the health sector, education sector and other sectors is booming because of your minerals. All this is your own making with your destructive debates.”
“The past week I have been tagged in posts about the retention of VAT with people celebrating and shaming me and others that supported GST. This year I witnessed a lot of workshops sponsored by the private sector lobbying for VAT. “Experts” were paid huge sums of money to organize and lobby for VAT.”
He said, “In the beginning, we expressed concern over the rate of GST and GRZ succumbed and put it about 5%. To citizens that are celebrating, find time to sit down with BOZ, ZRA and learn about the huge irregular VAT refunds. Sit down and look at the benefits of having a mining industry. It’s not that we own the mines or the country alone. It’s co-owned by everyone.”
Dr Habaazoka said with a faulty consumption tax system, Zambia can kiss good bye to lower pay as you earn adding that workers shall forever pay the highest taxes because workers have no capital allowances, no deductions on household expenditure or VAT refunds.
“When you laugh at others, you laugh at yourselves because business funded your own citizens put push a strong voice against GST and eventually mislead you. Just notice how certain consultants were so emotional and hardly fought GST but these people don’t even own a single company.”
“We are very good at failing our own country. It’s not that we were going to be exempted from paying GST. I have been to India and the USA this year and I haven’t seen any cascading effect in their economies.”
He added, “Every time you see copper trucks going out, just know that you continue being milked. These guys all of a sudden have low grade copper and don’t even want to talk about cobalt. When we speak for you, you call us all sorts of names. Don’t come back to us when your mines are dry for more ways of diversifying the economy. You have missed your chance now.”
Dr Habaazoka charged that the rescinding of GST decision is because of citizens pressure and pressure from businesses.
“When your tax authority tells you that something is wrong and you opt to think you are more knowledgeable, something is very wrong. Sit down with us people who are in economic advocacy. We shall show you how lobbying in Zambia is very much advanced. The first bribe given to Zambians is given to intellectuals in form of consultancy. After chewing consultancy money, the voice from the consultant will go flat out in support of certain interests. Indeed it Business 10 – Zambia 0.”