The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has exonerated President Edgar Lungu from allegations that he is involved in the smuggling of MUKULA logs.
ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda said that ZRA has no evidence to link President Lungu or his daughter Tasila to the allegations of smuggling of Mukula logs.
Mr Chanda was responding to a question from a journalist during a briefing in Lusaka today on ZRA’s performance last year.
He, however, confirmed that the Zambian government has been exporting the Mukula logs confiscated from some suspected smugglers.
Mr. Chanda said despite the ban on the export of Mukula logs, the government decided to export the impounded logs to earn the country revenue, adding that it was government’s view that the impounded logs would have been wasted had they not been exported.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has announced that it surpassed its revenue target of K51.8 billion for the fiscal year 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019 by K1.1 billion.
Speaking during the end of year review for 2019 in Lusaka, ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda said during the year, the Authority collected K63.8 billion in gross revenue while the refunds stood at K10.9 billion resulting in a net collection of K52.9 billion.
He said the net collection of K52.9 billion translates to 17.6% of the projected GDP estimate for 2019 compared to the targeted 17.3%.
The ZRA boss stated that this outstanding performance is despite the unfavourable economic environment especially during the second half of the year.
“This outturn is attributable to higher than programmed revenue collections under indirect and trade taxes which posted surpluses of K264.8 million and K906.3 million, respectively. However, we had significant poor yields in mineral royalty and excise taxes largely due to prolonged shutdowns at major smelting facilities leading to lower production for the former and the delayed implementation of the telecommunications transaction monitoring system and the digital tax stamps for the latter. Further, the draught that resulted in serious load shedding negatively affected industrial production and consequently tax revenue collections,” he added.
“The growth in revenue for the year to date period compared to the same period in 2018 stands at 9.3% compared to the targeted growth rate of 7.0% revenue projected for the same period. Please note that this performance relates to revenues collected by ZRA only and does not include the performance of non-tax revenues collected by other government agencies.”
Mr. Chanda further stated that during the year, ZRA paid out K10.5 billion in VAT refunds while a further K400 million was refunded towards direct taxes and duty drawback.
He indicated that the bulk of the vat refunds 78%, was paid to the mining sector.
“You may recall that in 2018 ZRA refunded K9.4 billion. The current refunds, therefore, representing 16.1% growth. Going forward, the government through ZRA will allocate more resources to dismantle outstanding vat refunds and minimize accumulation of refunds,” he further added.
“ZRA will ensure that current refunds in 2020 are honoured while a plan will be agreed with the ministry of finance on dealing with refund arrears without distorting the input/output performance of vat in 2020. Paying refund arrears using current collections distorts the actual performance of the tax. For example, of the k10.5 billion refunded in 2019 only k2.8 billion related to transactions in 2019. The balance was 2013-2018 refund claims.”