ZRA and VAT rule 18

WHY would any responsible person fabricate a story that President Michael Sata intervened in the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Value Added Tax (VAT) rule 18 controversy?

The ZRA published a proposed amendment as a means of generating debate and feedback from the business community and in order to avoid any misunderstanding, they published another advertisement confirming that the rule had not changed.

This is as it should be in a democracy such as Zambia where governance institutions are expected to exercise good corporate governance.

But even if the amendment had been effected, there was nowhere in the proposed amendment that suggested that the rule would be applied retrospectively.

The proposed amendment dealt with future application of VAT rule 18 and it is shocking that some people could deliberately choose to misinform the general public just to cause anxieties among companies.

This means that the proposed amendment was never aimed at unblocking the US$ 600 million disputed VAT refunds to some mining companies.

We hope that State House will issue a statement that clears the air that the President at no time interfered or attempted to influence the amendment to VAT rule 18 controversy.

There is so much misunderstanding in the public domain about the ZRA rule 18 making one wonder how many other revenue laws Zambians do not understand.

Perhaps, this is the reason some media houses have taken advantage of the information gap to malign some senior government officials over a tax measure which is law in Zambia.

In the past month or so, Zambians have been treated to propaganda over the ZRA VAT rule 18 which has only gone to serve the interest of a power hungry clique.

But ZRA commissioner general Berlin Msiska explained yesterday that in the proposed amendment, there was no provision for back dating.

Dr Msiska was categorical that the proposed amendment carried a future date for its effect.

He was clear that with or without an amendment, the mining companies had no choice but to meet the requirements of the ZRA rule 18 as it was applied in the disputed period.

We wish to advise ZRA to in future act proactively in handling the misinformation generated in the public domain.

As seen, some Zambians were privy to some confidential correspondence, which they used to malign some government leaders over a government decision pertaining to the administration of VAT rule 18.