Zamtel chief executive officer Sydney Mupeta says the institution is steadily clearing its debt with the Zambia Revenue Authority.
Speaking at a joint media briefing with ZRA today, Mupeta, who could not disclose how much the company currently owes, said Zamtel had so far paid almost one billion kwacha in tax liabilities.
“Not long ago, Zamtel made a K10.7 million payment to the Zambia Revenue Authority towards dismantling the tax debt. We recently paid another K44 million by way of debt-swap with government. Yesterday, we paid ZRA K12 towards our historical debt liability. In 2017 alone, Zamtel has so far paid a total of K93 million (93,305,830) to dismantle both historical and current liabilities. The above figures represent: K61 Million (K61,012,000) –Historical, K32 Million (32,923,830) –Current tax liability. As a State Owned Enterprise, we are fully aware of the need for tax payers like ourselves to be tax compliant,” Mupeta said.
“These are the same funds that are channelled towards service delivery for the public good. This event is also symbolic as it demonstrates the growth trajectory that we are now seeing at Zamtel. As an organisation, we are fully cognizant of the fact that we still have more to do but this development alone shows that this organisation is turning the corner and heading in the right direction. Applaud the efforts by the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Zambia Revenue Authority to increase tax collections.”
He hailed ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda’s zeal for tax collection.
“The zeal and innovation at ZRA is clear for all to see and as partners in development, we applaud the Commissioner General and his team for their efforts.
The success of the recent tax amnesty is another example of how ZRA is working towards tax efficiency. For our friends from the media, let me emphasize that the bulk of the tax debt we are talking about today is very historical. As Zamtel, we remain committed to ensuring that this tax burden is completely dismantled, and we are happy to be fulfilling this pledge today. I also wish to point out today’s event is as a result of the positive energy that the organisation has assumed over the last few months. Why is this possible? The answer is simple. Our customers have made this possible. The growth that Zamtel has achieved in the recent times is due to the massive support that we have received from our customers. We recently crossed the two million subscriber mark and we are fully on schedule to close the year at around 2.5 million,” he said.
Mupeta said Zamtel had a bright future.
“Taking into account where this organisation is coming from, the acceleration in customer acquisition witnessed over the last few months can only be described as phenomenal. The future of Zamtel is very bright; we are on course with our $280 million investment that will give us the best network coverage that the country has even seen. We have started implementing our first 100 sites out of the 1,009 sites. This will give Zamtel 4.5G with speeds of up to 240 Mbps for our fixed customers, 4G for our mobile customers, best customer experience and best quality of service,” said Mupeta.
Meamwhile, Chanda asked parastatals and other businesses to emulate Zamtel by paying their taxes.
“I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Zamtel for the consistency and commitment to dismantle the tax debt which is mostly historical. You may recall that from March to 31st August 2017, ZRA had the Tax Amnesty that was meant to assist business to make a fresh start on their tax liabilities. I am glad to say Zamtel was one of the businesses that took advantage of the Amnesty and today we can see the results. Indeed, as a result of the Amnesty, we have witnessed an impressive upward trend in voluntary compliance and we thank you the tax payers for this stride. 12 million kwacha has been paid as part of the liquidation of tax arrears that are historical. We commend Zamtel for being patriotic and being committed to building a better Zambia through tax compliance.
The Zambian Revenue Authority is committed to consolidating the gains so far made in tax compliance to move this country towards attaining full financial independence. It is for this reason, that we are going out to interact with our valued tax payers in open forums where we can tell them directly how grateful we are for their support. Zamtel we thank you,” said Chanda.
“Lastly, allow me to ask all government parastatals and business in general to emulate Zamtel and build public confidence in their customers by paying their tax. We have the capacity to collect tax debt, all we are asking is that come and pay these taxes and if you are not able to pay them now, come and see us, we shall help you by putting you on a payment plan. Let mw retaliate that we are friendly, approachable and here to help you with all your tax relate matters. Tax collection has two basic principle, compliance and enforcement. As tax payers you have to be complaint but if you fail to comply, ZRA will apply the second principle which is enforcement. Therefore we appeal to you that being visited by ZRA in a negative manner is not the best; we want to visit you in a positive manner because you have shown commitment in being compliant just like what Zamtel has done.”