Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says he is disappointed by Professor Oliver Saasa’s “petty stance” in his argument on the impact of Value Added Tax (VAT) refund to the economy.

Earlier, Prof Saasa who is Premier Consult managing director said retaining VAT and ditching Sales Tax was “icing on the 2010 national budget” adding that it was irresponsible for Chanda to back sales tax without carefully understanding its implications.

“…the manner in which the ZRA commissioner general was pushing it (sales tax) was in my view irresponsible. I think that we need to reengage the thought process at ZRA to make sure that we do not jump into systems and processes that we have not invested sufficient energies and resources to understand the implications. There was no study, to my knowledge that was undertaken that justified why the Commissioner General of the ZRA maintained the position that he had, especially where information from experts in this field suggests very clearly that there are challenges that need to be understood. And I am very happy that Honourable Minister of Finance [Dr Bwalya Ng’andu indicated that we have to undertake studies to understand it before we can look at it as an option,” said Prof Saasa.

But Chanda in a statement to News Diggers! said Prof Saasa is not an economist and does not understand taxation adding that the problem of VAT was genuine and real not only to Zambia but in other developing countries.

“First, Saasa is not an economist and does not understand taxation. The problem of VAT is real and genuine not just in Zambia but in all developing countries with limited value addition. A comprehensive analysis was done not just by ZRA but even by ministry of Finance. For ZRA our job is to implement government tax policy and we shall do just that. This is a national issue that I don’t expect any human being who pretends to be educated to reduce to a personal attack on me. I am not just disappointed about the so-called Professor but am equally worried about such pettiness,” Chanda stated.

And Chanda added that he was still of the view that Zambia must reform VAT.

“This level of pertinence by hungry and angry people masquerading as Economists is worrying. You cannot reduce a national debate to an individual. I had and I still have valid reasons why Zambia and many if not all similar economies in the world must fundamentally reform VAT. I was a tax consultant for 10 years within and outside Zambia and I know what I am talking about,” stated Chanda.