MMD backs Chikwanda over VAT

IT IS unfair to demonise and slander Finance Minister Alexandra Chkwanda over VAT refunds to mining companies because the law has always been clear and predicable in its implementation, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) national secretary Muhabi Lungu has said.

And Mr Lungu has charged that some individuals were persecuting Mr Chikwanda because of their selfish political interest in the mines.

Speaking when he featured on Hot FM radio Hot Seat programme yesterday, Mr Lungu said the MMD was of the view that the more than US$600 million VAT refund owed to the mines must be paid because failure to do so would result into the reduction in investment in the mines.

He said both the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) and the Chamber of Mines of Zambia have made their positions known and that there could not be any other authority that could counter or question the two organisations.

He wondered why those attacking Mr Chikwanda were isolating President Michael Sata from the blame when the Head of State should have been the one taking the heat.

Mr Lungu said the MMD was aware that some media houses were perversely attacking Mr Chikwanda so that he could use his emotions to make decisions and punish the mines by refusing to pay VAT refunds.

“The law on VAT rule 18 should also be changed in order for it to be clearer and more consistent and it is unfair for some people to attack Mr Chikwanda. Why are they exonerating President Sata in this? Let them target their bullets at the President because the buck stops at his shoulders ,” he said.

Mr Lungu said the VAT rule 18 was introduced in the early 1990’s adding that persecuting Mr Chikwanda today would be very unfair.

And Mr Lungu charged that the Patriotic Front (PF) had failed to fulfil its campaign promises and that Zambians were regretting having wasted their vote on a political party that had no sense of governance.

“The PF has only achieved about 20 per cent of the campaign promises which they made prior to the 2011 general elections and that is a complete fail. They promised the Constitution in 90 days and three years down the line, they calling Zambians demanding for the new Constitution names,” he said.

Mr Lungu cited the failure to restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the re-introduction of windfall tax and one million jobs creation.And commenting on the vacancy of the two vice presidents in the MMD, Mr Lungu said, the national executive committee would soon be seating to resolve the vacancy of the vice presidents.

Mr Lungu said it was illogical and unreasonable for Dr Brian Chituwo to say the MMD was  dead as the former ruling party was  timeless.