‘New tax regime needed to jack up economy’

There is need to broaden the tax base so that the country can have more money for other projects and infrastructure development, UPND vice president in charge of politics Canicius Banda has said.

Mr Banda said that the current system of taxation by the PF government was not benefiting the people of Zambia.

He said there was need for the taxation system to be structured in a manner that would strike a balance between the need for sufficient public revenue generation and promote investments.

He also said agriculture would be broadened to alleviate poverty and help the government to create employment for young people.

The money generated from these activities would be channeled to sectors such as education.

Dr Banda said the agriculture sector should be looked at seriously and that the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) would be revisited as there was need for the Ministry of Agriculture to provide farming inputs on time.

He said there was need to create value addition in agriculture as it was the backbone of the country’s economy.

“There is need for the agriculture sector to be revisited and come up with solutions that will add value to the sector. It is unfortunate that Zambians were buying fertilizer and seed at a higher price and all this should be blamed on the PF administration.

“As UPND we shall lower the cost of seed and fertilizer because farmers have been impoverished. There is need to empower the farmer and the maize subsidies introduced must be scrapped off. It is not benefiting the farmer in any way, farmers need to be paid on time after supplying maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA)” he said.

Dr Banda was speaking yesterday when he featured on AMA Radio talk show dubbed “The Truth”.

He said that there was misapplication of resources by the current administration and that these resources if managed properly could be channeled to other areas of need that would boost the economy.

He also noted that collection of taxes from the mines should be revisited because Zambians were not benefiting from the tax.

He explained that the mining sector consumed K3 billion from the Zambian people and this was left unchecked by the current Government.

He said the Mines and Minerals Act was not being implemented as most locals did not benefit from it.

He said when his party forms government next month it would make sure that the local quarter would be exhausted by allowing the mines to get supplies from them.

The opposition leader said power generation was another resource that Government should exploit to take advantage of the abundant water bodies in the country.

Dr Banda said it was scandalous that Zambia was importing power from Botswana which was a desert when it could be exporting power to Botswana and other countries in the region.

He said the economy was shrinking because Government was doing nothing to help avert it from collapsing.

He said because of policies that did not favour the business environment, the cost of production had continued to go up making it difficult for manufacturers to produce at a lower rate.

There was need to lower the cost of production, lower mealie meal and fuel prices as well as reduce electricity tariffs so that people could benefit from the lower cost of living.