Katuba UPND member of parliament says it would make more sense to increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes than taxing boreholes which hinge on people’s wellbeing.
Debating President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament on national values and principles, Tuesday, Mwashingwele wondered what PF officials valued; if they could introduce a tax on under ground water.
“What are the principles of the PF? Where do they want to take this country? We have just been told about an SI that is talking about taxing ground water. Maybe in Lusaka it makes sense but in my constituency, Katuba, it doesn’t make sense. When we are soliciting for people to drink clean water, we go and drill a borehole in the middle of the village which does not belong to anybody, then today they want to tax it K833, who is going to contribute to pay for that borehole? Am I going to tax my villagers? Does the PF want to go back to digging shallow wells?” Mwashingwele, who is also UPND deputy secretary general, asked.
She said it would be better to put more taxes on alcohol and cigarettes so that they cost K25 and K50 respectively than to tax underground water.
“Why doesn’t the PF government in fairness, in respect of the villagers tax the alcohol people are drinking? The whiskey and tonic that is being drunk every day? Why can’t they tax the cigarettes? People are smoking cigarettes which do not put food on the table. Why don’t they tax the alcohol? I don’t mind if the bottle of lager, Mosi lager, today goes to K25, it won’t change the lives of my people in Katuba. You can buy a packet of cigarettes for K50, it won’t change lives in Katuba,” said Mwashingwele.
“But if you charge them for water, are you sure you are respecting the people? Are you giving them value? You want them to revert to the old methods because you are charging the most essential part of a human being, water. You go to Kanchibiya you will have the same problem I am having in Katuba. You go to Kaputa, you go to Shang’ombo, because the government is not giving us reticulated water, we are forced to drill boreholes. Now if we are going to tax it today, what are we anticipating? What value are we adding to our people? Chelstone and Avondale have been victims of poor reticulated water and it is the reason why most of the houses there ended up drilling boreholes.”