FORMER Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande says President Edgar Lungu cannot be telling people about taxes when he doesn’t know what will happen this week.
Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s remarks that if everyone paid taxes regularly and on time, they would be lowered, Magande observed that some of the residents the President was addressing had no capacity to pay tax.
Magande also wondered whether the people President Lungu was addressing understood him.
“We have industries that make money, mining makes money. If only the mining industry was properly handled by the government, and there was a conversation between government and the mines so that mines contribute whatever percentage they are supposed to produce, we would have had a lot of income. It can solve our problems. Going to Chinsali to talk about taxes to those people, how many of them even understood what he was saying? I don’t understand. He can’t be telling people about taxes because you don’t know what will happen next (this) Thursday. Even where he went, what industries are there? What taxpayers would be there? You go to talk to people who don’t seem to have the capacity to pay tax,” he said.
And Magande said the presidential candidates that participated in the debate organised by Diamond TV had the same ideologies.
“Out of all the people that appeared there, there was no difference in ideologies. They have no differences in approach to agriculture, all of them say we will give fertilizers to farmers. Those people could even say, before Thursday, we have come together and say ‘we are supporting this person’. We can make much more progress than going there and finding all these pictures, wasting people’s time in the booths. 16 pictures of people and some of them we have never seen or heard before, what is the point? What I would have wished is to have enough time to ask each candidate what they think are the major issues that the new administration has to deal with. What are the issues that Zambia now is grappling with? And on the basis of that, then one can ask questions. Does each candidate know the issues that have to be attended to, if and when they get into office? That is very important,” he said.
“In other countries, in the biggest democracy in America, you have republicans against the democrats and the two have completely two different ways of looking at issues. In Zambia, we have no ideologies. One who is trying to introduce ideologies is the Socialist Party. The debate is okay but I think choosing subjects for these people of what the issues are, is not very productive. Each one of them has been saying ‘I can do better than this person’, that is why you end up with 16 candidates. If you were to divide them into two ideologies, some of them will say ‘I support everything’. Where people end up agreeing on issues, why do they want to compete amongst themselves? These people haven’t even found time to exchange notes,” he said.
Magande lamented that the current government left out competent people in decision-making positions.
“By the time we have a President next week, it simply means that he will not cooperate with some of the people who were on the debate, who have better ideas in some of the fields. And unfortunately, that is how Zambia has become, a country which leaves out a lot of people in the development field because the government that has come like the current government, they have left out a lot of people who had better ideas than the people who are now in those positions,” said Magande.
“Like they said, Zambia cannot be in this state. In this modern world when we have people that have worked at NASA, helping to make space clubs and yet you listen to what is happening home, even from some people that were ministers in the past have no clue about these things, how do you move?”