By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
MANUFACTURERS have called for tax relief to cushion them against the devastating effects of Covid-19.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) President, Ezekiel Sekele said Government should provide more relief to the manufacturing sector in the 2022 National Budget to help it rebound.
Mr Sekele emphasised the importance for Government to relook at the current tax policy and consider offering some relief to the manufacturing sector.
He pointed out that the manufacturing sector was no different from tourism in terms of the impact of Covid-19 has had on the sector.
“We are looking forward to seeing some relief to the manufacturing sector in the 2020 National Budget so it recover,” Mr Sekele when he recently met the Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane in Lusaka.
Mr Sekele encouraged Government to promote value addition and industrialisation to enhance the growth of the sector.
And speaking after the meeting, Mr Sekele said: “We had a fruitful consultative meeting with the Minister of Finance. In principle the Minister highlighted that Government stand ready to see the recovery and growth of the manufacturing sector.”
Mr Sekele said the minister also touched on the review of the tax policies, stating that these are matters that are closely aligned to ZAM.
“For us the message to the minister was that we would like to see further promotion of value addition and industrialization in our country,” he said.
Mr Sekele noted that the manufacturing sector was only contributing eight percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while in the 2030 vision, the industry should be contributing more than 30 per cent to the GDP.
In response, Dr Mukotwane said the Government was desirous to see serous growth registered in the manufacturing sector through the promotion of value addition and industrialization as well as job creation.
The minister reiterated the importance of removing the obstacles impacting on businesses, the cost of doing business, regulatory costs and all matters that pertain to the smooth operation of business.
And the Zambia Revenue Authority has encouraged all players in all sectors to make budget submissions to the Ministry of Finance who were policy makers.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager Topsy Sikalinda said the authority was an implementing agency hence all engagements on policy must be done with the ministry.
“We wish to take advantage to advise all players to differentiate between policy makers and policy implementors. Our role is to implement policy decisions made by the ministry and parliament,” he said.
Ms Sikalinda encouraged all players in all sectors to engage the ministry and make submissions for possible consideration in the next budget cycle.