It’s government’s hope that by January 2020, all the teething problems associated with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be identified and resolved, says Finance Minister Margarate Mwanakatwe.

Mwanakatwe was responding to a question from Kantanshi independent member of parliament Anthony Mumba, who wanted find out if the minister could give any comfort to business houses who might be anxious over the continued postponement of the implementation of Sales Tax.

“The message is very clear that we are listening government and given that the Parliamentary process has to happen, we have moved our date of implementing Sales Tax to 1st September. In so doing, what we are making sure happens is that all the teething problems that should happen, happen in this year. When we enter 1st January, 2020, we must be very clear as to the effect of Sales Tax. So 1st September gives us a clear three months in which we will ensure that we clear any teething problems. So the business houses out there, what we are saying is; here we are with the tax Bill, that is here. Sales Tax Bill is here to stay, this is a Bill that has to go under the scrutiny of Parliament… so to the business community, there is no need for them to fear anything, we are going through procedure as per Parliament and we are going to go through the procedure and allow members of parliament to debate accordingly,” Mwanakatwe said.

And speaking when she rendered a Ministerial statement to Parliament, Friday, to respond to a point of order raised by leader of the opposition Jack Mwiimbu and to update the nation on the progress made towards the implementation of Sales Tax, Mwanaktwe said all the procedures involved in the implementation of Sales Tax could not be completed before July 1.

“Mr Speaker, as announced in April, 2019, before this House, we intended to implement the move from Value Added Tax (VAT) to Sales Tax on 1st July, 2019. Sir, as you may be aware, the Bill is yet to undergo Parliamentary procedure, which includes second reading; committee stage and third reading. Once passed by Parliament, the Bill has to go Presidential assent. Clearly, these procedures cannot be completed before the stated date of 1st July, 2019. To this end Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House and the nation that the implementation date for Sales tax has been moved to 1st September, 2019,” Mwanakatwe said.

“Mr Speaker, the government has continued to receive submissions from both the public and the private sectors as it continues to sensitize them on the content of the Bill. Sir, like I said in my brief to the House in April, 2019, we do not want to leave any stone unturned. It is in this regard that my ministry, working hand in hand with the Zambia Review Authority went to all the 10 Provinces to engage stakeholders in order to get their key input on the Bill that was presented before this August House. We also interacted with professional Bodies, academia, think tanks and other business associations.”

She said she’d hold a workshop with members of parliament to clarify all issues concerning Sales Tax.

“Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to thank the Zambian people for their support and determination to ensure that this nation gets enough resources to provide social services. I also wish to inform the nation that their views and suggestions have been well received and taken into account as we implement Sales Tax. Additionally Mr Speaker, I propose to hold a workshop with all members of parliament next week to discuss and clarify all issues on Sales Tax. I look forward to the support of the House during further consideration of the Bill presented before this House,” said Mwanakatwe.