Cabinet has deliberated and approved six (6) Bills and one (1) Policy for publication and introduction in Parliament in order to ensure that the delivery of services to the people is based on firm policy and legislative stance by the Government including all stakeholders involved in the developmental agenda.
During the 26th Cabinet Meeting held at State House on 14th November 2022, Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda cited that Cabinet has approved the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism and Proliferation Financing (AML/CTPF) Policy and its Implementation Plan, adding that the decision by Cabinet to introduce such a National Policy is as a result of the prevalence of vices such as corruption, tax evasion, drug trafficking, theft and fraud, which, if not controlled in a more coordinated manner by the Government, would negatively affect the economic, political and social stability of the country.
Ms Kasanda explained that the approval National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism and Proliferation Financing (AML/CTPF) Policy by Cabinet is premised on the fact that Zambia is a founder member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), and as such, it is important to comply with the standards set by the organization for member countries to have National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism and Proliferation Financing Policies.
“Cabinet has a firm belief that the comprehensive implementation of this Policy will enhance coordination among various stakeholders to undertake targeted measures and allocate resources effectively in response to Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proliferation Financing risks,” She added
Ms Kasanda who also the Minister of Information and Media highlighted that during the meeting Cabinet also deliberated on six (6) legislation issues following the approval by Cabinet at its 20th Meeting, held on 16th September 2022, of the 2023 National Budget, which is currently under consideration by Parliament, adding that Cabinet approved the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill of 2022, for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objective of this Bill is to amend the Income Tax Act so as to deal with all income tax-related issues as addressed in the 2023 National Budget.
She noted that the implementation of the Bill, once enacted, will, among other things, mitigate the cost of living for the people in the country, increase disposable income for salaried households, attract public-private partnerships in infrastructure investment such as roads, increase revenue to support the implementation of the 2023 National Budget; and ease the tax burden for certain sectors of the economy which will invariably result in greater tax compliance.
The Minister cited that the Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill of 2022 is another Bill that Cabinet has approved for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objectives of the Bill, among others, are to revise the rates of customs and excise duty payable on certain goods, revise the list of goods to be subject to surtax at importation, provide for the use of electronic fiscal devices in the administration of excise duty, and in order to promote a clean and healthy environment, facilitate the importation into the country, of electric motor vehicles and cycles.
She said that Cabinet also approved the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill of 2022 for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objective of this Bill is to amend the Value Added Tax Act, so as to revise the definition of “commercial property;” provide clarity on crediting of input tax and revise the penalty for tax evasion.
“Cabinet has indicated that there is a need to provide clarity on the crediting of input tax and revise the penalty for tax evasion so as to stiffen the punishment in order to ensure greater tax compliance in the country. Further, it is envisaged that the implementation of the Bill will result in increased revenue mobilization and greater tax compliance by stiffening the punishment for tax evasion,” she said
The Minister mentioned that another Bill approved by Cabinet for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, is the Property Transfer Tax (Amendment) Bill of 2022, and like the other Bills deliberated upon by Cabinet, the Bill is intended to facilitate the smooth implementation of the 2023 National Budget.
During the same meeting, Ms Kasanda said that the Pension Scheme Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was also approved by Cabinet for publication and introduction in Parliament, whose objective is to amend the Pension Scheme Regulation Act, 1996, so as to provide for the approval of pension scheme rules by the Pensions and Insurance Authority.
She disclosed that currently, the Act does not provide for the approval of pension scheme rules by the Pensions and Insurance Authority during the consideration of an application for registration to authorise an applicant to establish, manage and administer a pension scheme. Therefore, there is a need to provide for the approval of pension scheme rules by the Pensions and Insurance Authority to enhance coordination going forward.
Ms Kasanda highlighted that the Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Bill of 2022 was also approved by Cabinet for publication and introduction in Parliament, noting that the objective of this Bill is to amend the Mines and Minerals Development Act of 2015, so as to restructure the taxation of mineral royalty.
She noted that currently, the mineral royalty regime, with respect to copper, does not support a conducive environment that attracts investment in the mining sector, therefore, there is a need to restructure the mineral royalty regime with respect to copper.