Donors stance on Post K53m debt questionable


Dear Editor

The article in the Daily Nation dated Saturday, 25th June 2016 that a certain donor country plans to pay the K53 million tax to ZRA on behalf of the Post Newspaper on Monday cannot go without comment.

Is this donor or donors telling us that they are going to be bailing out any media or other companies in Zambia that default or are going to default on payment of tax to ZRA?

Secondly, is this money from the donors that is rumoured to be used to pay ZRA on behalf of the Post consistent with the policy of this donor country’s policy that whenever a media company defaults in their country, they bail them out?

And if so, does this donor country’s policy support bailing out companies (both local and foreign) in other countries who have defaulted on payment of tax to their respective countries?

I don’t believe so. If so, can this donor country give us the article or clause in their constitution or guidelines on operations of business entities with regard to tax compliance?

The donors money (unless laundered)  being tax payers money from their respective countries has conditions attached to it.

For instance, donors money cannot be given to an organisation or company that is involved in money laundering, terrorism, crime related activities including to organisations whose audited accounts are questionable (such that not being tax compliant).

In this case, the donors’ plan to bail out the Post is a bad precedence, bad timing and bad governance practice from which ever this country (the donor) to bail out the Post (non tax compliance) that wilfully decided to ignore its tax obligation (economic sabotage to own country) to ZRA, and hence denying Zambians of the much needed tax in critical areas of health, education including salaries for civil servants.

I wish to urge the ZRA not to accept this money from the donors.

If ZRA does accept this money, a bad precedence will be set that will compromise Zambia’s tax laws and will open a pandora’s box for other companies operating in Zambia to start defaulting and justifying that they are contacting donors to bail them out.

Aware that the donor funding to African countries has being dwindling, which reminds us that we need to stand on our feet, this practice of letting the donor bail out the Post may lead to the collapse of Zambia’s tax system and its financial standing that can ultimately put the country in a financial crisis.

We don’t want to have this crisis in the country, with this confusion that the donors want to introduce perceived to be good will on their side, but which may turn catastrophe to our mother Zambia, should the ZRA accept for the donor to pay for the Post.

We appreciate and recall the donors call years back that Zambia should strengthen its tax collection system to get the maximum revenue from the mines and all other businesses with obligations to pay tax.

We do not appreciate the retrogressive idea of the donor(s) wanting to bail the Post.

Stop interfering. For the Post, just pay!

Show us, unlike illegally printing the copy which is on black market, that you are a good media with good corporate values by paying what belongs to Caesar.

We are educated enough to know what is good for Zambia, and the problem this might bring to our mother Zambia.

By the way, the economies of donor countries are developed because of among, other things, the strictness on tax collection – they don’t bail out tax offending companies or individuals. Do they?!


Concerned Citizen