Zambia Revenue Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says out of four clearing associations in Zambia, one Association with the lowest membership and with some members whose licenses have either been suspended or revoked for smuggling are against ZRA automation of their business with importers.
The Association, which has the lowest membership among the Four (4) registered Agencies and has been calling for other Agencies to go on strike.
In a statement to the media, Mr. Chanda says he will not succumb to smugglers and imposters.
“We will not legitimize smuggling. ZRA modernization agenda which started in 2016 is about digitalization and automation of all our manual processes in order to enhance revenue and minimize leakages,” he said.
“Nothing will stand in our way and stop us from collecting legitimate government revenue.
At the moment Zambia has four registered clearing associations and only one with the lowest membership is against our efforts to improve tax compliance. The majority are supportive,”.
The Commissioner-General said that Bruce Kaemba who is the ring leader has no clearing company, his company Fedro Cargo was suspended over seven months ago for alleged involvement in transit fraud and smuggling.
“So he is basically fighting his own battle and riding on the ignorance of few agents. Those agents who will follow him risk having their licenses revoked,”Mr. Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said that he has since directed ZRA legal team to start the process of stopping recognition of this clearing association for disrupting the smooth operations of the borders which is tantamount to economic sabotage, adding that ZRA will not tolerate anarchy and illicit political activities in the clearing industry.
And Lusaka Province Minister Hon Bowman Lusambo has jumped into the debate saying that Government frowns upon the arm twisting tactics by the Customs Clearing and Freight Forwarding Agents Association of Zambia which is planning tools down at Chirundu Border Post.
Peaking when he featured on a Sun FM Radio Interview yesterday, Mr Lusambo said that he will not tolerate such illegality.
Minister Lusambo said he would engage the Ministry of Home Affairs to consider deregistering the clearing and freight forwarding company if need be adding that he would have no apologies for doing that and also equally engage other line Ministries to find the way forward on the matter in question.
He added that developing the country calls for concerted efforts from all stakeholders as opposed to leaving it to President Edgar Lungu alone.
“People need to think through before they do certain things. We shouldn’t be taking the people of Zambia for granted. We want to be serious citizens of this country. It is not only President Edgar Chagwa Lungu who is going to develop this country. All of us should take part when it comes to developing this country,” he said.
“So that Association, I want to stress a point here…..I know Bruce is in Lusaka. And I can assure him that for me I will not tolerate such nonsense. If it means working hand in hand with other Ministries such as Home Affairs for me to achieve what I want to achieve, I will do it. If it means deregistering that Association, I will.”
He stressed that commerce and trade is important especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has had negative effects on the country’s economy.
The Minister warned clearing agents for the Chirundu Boarder, which he said contributes approximately 50% of the Country’s revenue collection not to fall prey adding that there are a lot of agencies yearning for such opportunities.
Minister Lusambo also mentioned that ZRA has targets to meet which should not be disrupted by such lawlessness.