ActionAid country director Nalucha Ziba has appealed to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to release mine audit reports to the public and ensure that investors pay their fair share of taxation.
And Ziba says the current revelation of theft of Health Products from Medical Stores Limited is an indication that the Ministry of Health has no capacity to handle tax around the National Health Insurance act.
On March 20 this year, ZRA announced that it had uncovered a tax evasion scam in which Kalumbila Minerals Limited, an FQM subsidiary, allegedly evaded paying taxes worth K76.5 billion.
And in an interview with News Diggers! Ziba applauded ZRA for undertaking audits on mining firms but emphasized that the audits should be done regularly.
Ziba observed that it would be prudent for Kalumbila Minerals Limited to settle their bill because the due amount would not only help to finance the national budget but also the 7NDP.
“As ActionAid Zambia we applaud ZRA for taking such a bold move. But also we emphasize that the audits of the mining firms should be regular, should be part of their monitoring in the sense that we have seen quite a number of issues which have been coming out from our mines. And in terms of the scam that ZRA unearthed, it will be prudent for the mine to settle that bill. But we also realized that if you look at the amount of money which has been spoken about, its able to finance our national budget and also even our Seventh National Development Plan. Therefore, the question is how much revenue have we been loosing without us undertaking regularly the monitoring of mining and other corporate entities operating in our country?” she asked.
Meanwhile, Ziba urged ZRA to release their audit report to the public so that citizens are able to make informed decisions.
“Then also the audit report, because the mines are national assets, it will be prudent for the Zambian Revenue Authority to release the report in public in order to avoid the various speculations which are currently going on so that people are able to judge and read and make an informed decision prospectively. We are just urging ZRA to release the report. We are looking forward to receive the report so that we are able to make informed decisions,” she said.
“We know that ZRA started implementing the value chain mining project which is supported by various cooperating partners, which aims to undertake an audit and also to scrutinize in terms of what the actual revenue collections they should be generating from our mines. With that, we are hopeful that the project will be able to yield positive results if it’s given the right attitude,” she said.
Ziba also urged the Revenue Authority to extend its monitoring practice to smaller mines as well.
“Also as I earlier alluded to, monitoring should not just be a by and when but it should be a regular feature for the Zambia Revenue Authority. To be monitoring, not just the bigger mines operating in the country but even the smaller mines which are operating as well as the other corporate entities. So that they pay their fair share of taxation because at the end of the day they are usually very comfortable to undertake audit visits to various companies and organizations such as the media, the civil society but we implore them to also increase on frequenting the mining entities as well,” he said.
And Ziba said the revelation of medical theft from Medical Stores Limited showed that the Ministry of Health had no capacity to handle the National Health Insurance act.
“The revelation of the medical theft, for us as an institution it has given us worries in the sense that we are expecting this same ministry to handle the tax around the national health insurance act. And going by this revelation it shows you that that ministry has no capacity to do that, to undertake that. With the happenings at the ministry, no one has the confidence that they will be able to take the money they will raise from the insurance to go towards it’s intended purpose. Because we have now been given so many doubts in terms of their capacity to handle public resources,” said Ziba.