Finance Minister Felix Mutati says Zambians should be proud of their contribution to the National Treasury through paying taxes because doing so is one way of investing in the country’s socio-economic development agenda with locally mobilized resources.

And Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says the Commission will from January 1, 2018 start conducting serious tax compliance enforcement in order to recover outstanding taxes.

Speaking when he visited the revenue house last week, Mutati said tax compliance was a major requisite to Zambia’s development agenda; Zambia-Plus, the Economic Stabilization and Growth Programme.

“We will collaborate with ZRA in order to optimize returns from the tax amnesty programme; with particular attention aimed at ensuring that big taxpayers comply before the end of the amnesty period, and in future. Let me therefore urge Zambians to take advantage of the tax amnesty on penalties and interests that ZRA was is in order to clean up their tax accounts. ZRA should also increase publicity of the tax amnesty programme so that benefits could be accessed by all eligible persons and entities countrywide,” Mutati said.

“ZRA needs to review the performance of turnover tax by increasing awareness and bringing on board simpler systems and mechanisms that will enable the business community to transact less laboriously. I am pleased with the investments which ZRA has made in technology like the Forensic Laboratory and the Queue Management System at the Taxpayer Services and Call Centers.”

The Minister also congratulated ZRA for implementing the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Programme, whose purpose is to develop a framework for monitoring Zambia’s mineral exports.

“The government, in its quest to provide an informed, transparent, and non-discriminatory platform for optimal collection of taxes and other fiscal revenues from the country’s mining sector mandated ZRA to lead a multi-institutional programme called the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project. A key output of the project was the design and implementation of a multi-institutional, multi-purpose, and multi-stakeholder framework for monitoring the country’s mineral value chain from mineral exploration stage to export out of the country’s borders,” said Mutati.

“The Mineral Production Reporting Tool, which is part of the Mineral Output Statistical Evaluation System (MOSES), will enable mining players to make online submissions of the mandatory monthly Mineral Production Reports to the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and to other government agencies.”

Mutati also said that he was happy that government was able to confidently verify mine production in terms of value, content, and quantity of minerals produced at each mine and in the sector in general.

Meanwhile ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda assured the Minister that the Authority had adopted a zero tolerance to all forms of tax evasion, tax fraud, and smuggling.

Chanda also told the Minister that the Authority had continued meeting quarterly targets despite certain tax types which were performing poorly.

“ZRA will conduct serious tax compliance enforcement starting 1st January 2018 in order to recover outstanding taxes and collect all due government tax revenues. The Mineral Production Reporting System has substituted the manual process where mining companies are required to travel to Lusaka to submit their monthly production returns. The advantage of the new system is that officers from various mines will be able to submit these reports in the comfort of their respective offices and responsible officials in government will also be able to approve these reports online,” said Chanda.