Finance and National Planning Minister SITUMBEKO MUSOKOTWANE today hosted a strategic visioning meeting for top management of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). The Minister took the opportunity to congratulate newly appointed Commissioner General DINGANI BANDA and urged him to oversee the establishment of a tax administration system that has the resilience to meet the aspirations of all stakeholders, particularly the taxpaying community.
He emphasized the need for the ZRA to ensure that all borders are modernized so that they are more client-friendly; enhance revenue collection; and, become models of international best practice in tax administration.
“Ensure that you reduce the queues at tax paying points and remove chaos at all borders so that there is order and better service for the tax paying public,” Dr Musokotwane instructed Mr Banda and his delegation.
He also urged ZRA to improve customer service and ensure that there is equity, fairness, and decorum in the treatment of all tax payers.
Mr Banda was accompanied to the strategic visioning meeting held at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning Headquarter in Lusaka by Peter Phiri – Commissioner (Direct Taxes), Moses Shuko – Commissioner (Indirect Taxes & Excise), Sydney Chibbabbuka – Commissioner (Customs), Bridget Muyenga – Commissioner (Finance) and Ezekiel Phiri (Director, Research & Strategy).
The Minister, who was accompanied by Permanent Secretary for Budget and Economic Affairs, Mukuli Chikuba, and Director of Budget, Joseph Nonde, tasked the Commissioner General to ensure that tax revenue performance was improved. He also urged ZRA to ensure that tax revenue performance is measured against parameters such as tax revenue to GDP ratio – an international benchmark which enables objective comparison of Zambia’s tax revenue performance with that of other tax administrations.
After listening to the segment on some of the issues affecting ZRA’s service delivery, the Minister pledged the Government’s commitment to priority areas such as the dismantling of K36.2 billion VAT refund arrears, limiting revenue leakages by leveraging on the interface between the Government Service Bus (GSB) and ZRA systems with key stakeholder institutions. The session also touched on the need to build on the success of the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project.
Dr Musokotwane advised ZRA to schedule their requirements according to priorities and “take due consideration of issues like impact on the taxpaying public; revenue performance; and, competitiveness with other jurisdictions in the region and beyond.”
Mr Banda thanked the Republican President Hakainde Hichilema, through the Minister, for the opportunity that has been accorded to him to serve as the Commissioner General for ZRA.
He pledged to provide leadership at ZRA and work towards attaining the expectations as outlined by the Minister of Finance and National Planning.