The Zambia Revenue Authority says Konkola Copper Mines owes government more than US$180 million in taxes.

Recently, in an update on KCM, Vedanta stated that ZRA owed KCM US$180 million in VAT refunds which had made the mine’s operations even more challenging.

But in an interview, ZRA public relations manager Topsy Sikalinda said the mining giant actually owed government more money than it was claiming.

“I can’t verify the amount now but what I know is that whatever amount they have mentioned, they actually owe government through ZRA in taxes more than that amount and you may be interested to know that normally, we don’t discuss any tax payers matters in public but since we have been pushed to this edge, we can just confirm that they are owing more but we will not go into detail of how much they are owing, but they are actually owing government more than what they have declared. Even what they have mentioned in their documents has not yet been verified, so it still has to undergo verification,” said Sikalinda.

“What they are owing, we just need to compile. And first thing on Monday, we shall compile, for the sake of report to government; not really to the public. But we are aware that they are owing more than what they have said in their documents.”

Asked if ZRA was concerned that the action taken by government to liquidate KCM would affect the authority’s revenue collection from the mines, Sikalinda said he believed government was acting in the best interests of the country.

“ZRA is just a collection agency that is collecting on behalf of government, therefore we believe that whatever position that government institutions take, are usually in the interest of the people and the interest of the country,” said Sikalinda.

In its update, Vedanta also lamented exponential rises in taxes.

“For the year ended 31 March 2019, Vedanta provided KCM with financial support (including funding of loan repayments) of approximately US$500 million. These significant financial and social investments combined with exponential rises in taxes, duties, fuel and power costs have placed an enormous and unaffordable burden on the company. The most recent restrictions and duty on concentrates have negatively impacted the running of the smelter and the much-needed acid to run its operations,” read the statement.

“In addition, the Zambian government owes the company more than US$180 million in VAT refunds which has made the situation even more challenging.”