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GOVERNMENT will prioritise dismantling of the K36.2 billion VAT refund arrears, Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has said. Dr Musokotwane said this yesterday when he hosted a strategic visioning meeting for top management of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). He also emphasised the need to build on the success of the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project.

 Dr Musokotwane said limiting revenue leakages by leveraging on the interface between the Government Service Bus (GSB) and ZRA systems with key stakeholder institutions would also be prioritized.

He advised ZRA to schedule their requirements according to priorities and take due consideration of issues like impact on the tax paying public; revenue performance; and, competitiveness with other jurisdictions in the region and beyond.

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Dr Musokotwane urged newly appointed ZRA Commissioner General Dingani Banda to oversee the establishment of a tax administration system which had the resilience to meet the aspirations of all stakeholders, particularly the tax paying community.

He emphasised the need for the ZRA to ensure that all borders were modernized so that they were more client friendly; enhance revenue collection; and, become models of international best practice in tax administration. “Ensure that you reduce the queues at tax paying points and remove chaos at all borders so that there is order and better service for the tax paying public,” Dr Musokotwane said.

He also urged ZRA to improve customer service and ensure that there is equity, fairness, and decorum in the treatment of all tax payers. The Minister, who was accompanied by Permanent Secretary for Budget and Economic Affairs, Mukuli Chikuba, and Director of Budget, Joseph Nonde, tasked the Commissioner General to ensure that tax revenue performance was improved.

 He also urged ZRA to ensure that tax revenue performance was measured against parameters such as tax revenue to GDP ratio – an international benchmark which enables objective comparison of Zambia’s tax revenue performance with that of other tax administrations.

And Mr Banda thanked the Minister for the opportunity that has been accorded to him to serve as Commissioner General for ZRA. He has pledged to provide the leadership at the ZRA and work towards attaining the expectations as outlined by the Minister of Finance.

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