Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Kingley Chanda says the authority has collected K794 million above the target of K10.37 billion set for revenue collection in the first quarter of 2018.

Speaking when he engaged Zambia Chamber of Commerce officials, Tuesday, Chanda said revenue collection had grown by 33% against a revenue projected growth rate of 12% based on 2018 microeconomic indicators.

“On a separate note, I wish to inform you that during the period January-December 2017 ZRA collected a total of K45.87 billion in gross revenue and refunded K6.72 billion thereby recording net revenue of K39, 149.7 billion which was K1.53 billion or 4.1 percent above annual budget target of K37.62 billion. The 2018 target is set at K44.67 billion which is K7.1 billion or 18.7 percent higher than 2017 target of K37.62 billion. I’m glad to announce that the ZRA continued wonderful performance in the first quarter of 2018. All the tax type registered unprecedented increase above our 2017 effort. Within three months of this year we have collected K794 million (USD 79.4 million above our target of K10.37 billion (1.04 billion) Compared to the first quarter of 2017, we have grown our collection by 33% against a revenue projected growth rate of 12% (based on 2018 microeconomic indicators). At this rate, am overly optimistic that we will reach 20% revenue contribution to GDP earlier than the year 2020. With your support colleagues I’m sure that we will over-perform this again,” Chanda said.

He said the Authority would continue to sensitize citizens on the need to be tax compliant.

“The Authority will continue on the great path of tax education through all available platforms in order to meet these targets. Tax compliance maybe Voluntary or involuntary. In an effort to improve voluntary compliance, and recognize clients who pay their taxes on time, the theme for ZRA in the year 2018 is rewarding compliant tax payers and punishing non-compliant non-tax payers to the maximum. I can assure you that we will consistently impose maximum penalties on tax evaders without fear or favor and regardless of the perpetrators. As you are fully aware, we did not want to get to this stage with a warning. That is why we introduced tax amnesty in 2017,” he said.

Chanda reiterated that the authority would severely punish tax evaders.

“Again, let me be very clear, tax laws require the Zambia Revenue Authority to payer taxpayer confidentiality. But these provisions do not apply to tax cheaters and evaders. These will be exposed. So, to avoid being exposed, take an easy route and comply. Needless to mention that tax administration has two basic principles namely; compliance and enforcement. Our call to Zambians is to change their mindset, we need to develop a culture of voluntary compliance to paying taxes without being followed by the ZRA. It is for this reason that the ZRA has recognized the need to continuously engage you in a productive way given your leadership role in our economy. Let us be open about our challenges and work together to find solutions,” said Chanda.

“ZRA has reconstructed domestic taxes division into direct taxes and indirect taxes. Our ultimate intention is to split the division so that we get the necessary focus and better management of taxes especially VAT. We have also introduced electronic fiscal registers for all VAT registered suppliers. Under the pilot phase we will distribute 2000 fiscal registers and so far about 1000 have been distributed. We are hopeful that through such engagement we will be able to get feed back from you. As the main revenue collection agency for the government, we are committed to ensuring that we play our rightful role in domestic revenue mobilization and enhancement of our country’s financial independence and enable the government to achieve the 7th National Development plan and the 2030 vision of transforming Zambia into a middle income country.”