PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says if everyone pays taxes regularly and on time, they will be lowered.

Speaking during the commissioning of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Chinsali Office, Wednesday, President Lungu said it was through tax revenue that the country would be developed.

“It is, therefore not surprising that the Patriotic Front government has put tax collection as one of its top priorities since it is through our tax revenue, that this nation shall be developed. I know those who are opposed to me and PF will say ‘President Lungu and PF, you promised us lower taxes, what’s your story?’ Yes, if we all pay our taxes regularly, on time, submit our returns, we will end up paying lower and lower taxes. If we improve our economy and growing our tax base, and all of us pay tax, indeed the taxes will be lowered and that is happening because the economy is going to rebound soon,” he said.

President Lungu said government would not shield anyone who was avoiding paying the correct taxes.

“I am impressed that ZRA has taken a zero-tolerance stance against smuggling. My government will support all the anti-smuggling and anti-evasion or avoidance interventions of the authority and will not shield anyone avoiding paying correct taxes. I am saying anyone because I have heard some churches, some politicians from all sectors of the community trying to take advantage and not pay tax. My government will continue enhancing the welfare of the Zambian people by investing in strategic developmental projects that will guarantee effective service delivery. However, this will only be possible if citizens continue paying the taxes they are required to pay,” he said.

The Head of State said his government was committed to ensuring that they empowered rural communities.

“My government is committed to ensuring that we empower rural communities to access government services just like those in urban centres. Our Infrastructure development so far shows how committed we are to our aspiration of leaving no one behind in our quest to develop Zambia. It is impossible to develop a nation and deliver services to the people if as a country we do not collect enough revenues to fund our programmes. Total domestic resources and financing currently account for about 70 percent of our national budget. This is an indication that we must be responsible for the development of mother Zambia,” he said.

President Lungu added that infrastructure development would not have been possible had it not been for people paying taxes.

“I have noted with happiness that in the recent past, the Zambia Revenue Authority has taken great strides in educating citizens about the importance of paying taxes and the role their taxes play in national development. Let me also take this opportunity to appeal to every Zambian and everyone doing business or earning an income in Zambia to pay correct taxes regardless of your status in society or the amount you are making. Every tax counts. The infrastructure development and the enhancement of service delivery that my government has embarked on would not have been possible had it not been for someone paying taxes. We must never forget that it is through taxes that the government can provide roads, hospitals, schools, social welfare, and salaries for civil servants, running of public offices, bridges, and many other social services,” he said.

President Lungu further commended members of the public who pay their taxes despite the hard times they were living in.

“Increased revenue generally leads to the development of the entire country. I am confident, therefore, that the benefits of the ZRA Chinsali office will trickle down to the local community because that is our desire as the Patriotic Front government. I wish to commend you and management for your resilience and hard work in ensuring taxes are collected amidst the disruption caused by COVID-19. Government appreciates the difficulties you have encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted business operations. I, therefore, thank businessmen and women who pay their taxes despite the hard times we are living in. Your persistence for tax compliance is commendable,” said President Lungu.