Finance Minister Margarate Mwanakatwe says Sales Tax may not come into effect on July 1 as earlier targeted because certain processes have not yet been completed.

On March 29, Mwanakatwe told Parliament that government had decided to push back its proposed implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1 to July 1, 2019, saying the move was to allow for further consultation on the disputed Sales Tax, which had received widespread criticism from stakeholders in the economy due to the uncertainties it presents for local businesses.

But in an interview, Monday, Mwanakatwe said Parliament was yet to pass the bill and she also needed to issue a Statutory Instrument to bring the GST into effect.

“It (implementation) depends on Parliament, on how soon or when they actually pass the bill. I can’t force Parliament to pass it today. I have to go by what is happening in Parliament. If it happens that, today is what? 24th? So I have six days, in that six days, I will have to think about whether 1st of July is appropriate. We have to be tactical. And if it doesn’t pass in six days, I can’t say ‘1st of July start’, I need Parliament to assent, I need the President to also assent, I need to also pass an SI to effect this thing. So we have to be logical and tactical about the beginning of this. We won’t be rigid about it, don’t be rigid. Process must be followed and I am following process. That is why we consult, countrywide, 10 provinces to make sure that they understand what we’re trying to do and we also understand their concerns. So there are likely to be changes in the implementation of the Sales Tax, that’s why we consult. Otherwise, why consult?” Mwanakatwe asked.

She said resolutions from her consultative tour would be co-opted into the final document to be laid before the House after committee stage.

“Consultations are done further during committee stage. Those consultations can be taken into account. Even Parliament itself, the committee also consults. Even me, I go and consult so I went out, I consulted. So during committee stage, if those consultations have resulted in a change, we will take it on board. That’s why there’s Committee stage and that’s why I went round the country to consult them. In consulting them, I had an opportunity to make changes or variations where I can, that’s why I love the consultations,” said Mwanakatwe.