As Zambia’s copper revenues dwindle government has now unleashed more taxes to make up on the cash deficit.
Finance Minister Felix Mutati has announced steep increases in taxes including Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
“r. Mr. Speaker, in coming up with the proposed revenue measures, I have sought to increase the level of
domestically raised resources while at the same time ensuring that the burden of taxation is borne equitably,” he told Parliament recently when presenting the 2017 Budget.
Mutati added, “Mr. Speaker, many of our citizens and stakeholders have implored the Government to take measures to ensure that the tax base is broadened, made fairer and enhances domestic resource mobilization.”
While broadening the exempt threshold from K3,000 to K3,300 pay as you earn has shot up from 35 percent to 37.s percent for those earning more than K3300 and above.
The minister maintained the 10 per tax on rentals for housing units.
Zambians will also have to brace for new and raised Value added taxes on imports which range from foodstuffs to motor vehicles.
Zambia is one of the countries in the continent with high taxes.
But the new taxes are n contradiction to the platform the current government used to gain power in 2011.
Riding on the crest on public discontent founder of the Patriotic Front (PF) Micheal Sata who died in 2014 promised Zambians to put more money in their pockets.
He told usually euphoric crowds his administration would raise the standard of living of the people by lowering taxes.
But after coming into power in 20 11 Sata as PF and national president embarked on a countrywide construction and rehabilitation programme.
Under this exercise new universities, schools, hospitals, clinics health centres and other infrastructures were constructed.
Bidding for re-election in 2016 Sata opened up more roads rehabilitated hundreds, constructed bridges and rehabilitated fallen ones.
But his critics argue while these were noble projects and to the public good, they were largely not budgeted for, while many of them were embarked on without consulting the treasury.
Apart from that commodity prices fell affecting the Chinese economy and mainly those countries that heavily depend on the Asian giant for trade.
On Zambia’s part Copper production fell drastically so were the national metal revenues.
Second the local currency the Kwacha crashed to its lowest levels against the United States dollar and other convertible currencies.
As if that was not enough drought swept through the entire Southern Africa discharging a unprecedented lower crop yield in many countries in the region.
The low level of water in many rivers including the Zambezi and the Kariba dam dropped too.
The result of the low water levels at Kariba was the emergence of one of the country’s most severe power shortages in the history of the 52 year old nation.
The power deficit resulted in poor performance in industry including the mines as ZESCO, the country’s power utility firm embarked on rationing of electricity which in practical terms meant eight hour black outs daily.