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In the last couple of years, some mining companies have been caught cheating.

THAT mining companies cheat to get out paying the correct tax to Government, is not an exaggeration but the plain truth.

Is it any wonder that some sections of society are apprehensive about the mineral royalty tax modality being modified ?

The mining sector has come under the spotlight following the 2022 budget presentation revealing the modification of the mineral royalty tax modalities.

Whereas before mines were paying tax based on production, this will now depend on  the calculated net profit, which means that if a mining company decides to declare no profit, then there is no mineral royalty tax to be paid.

This is why some technocrats opposed to the new modalities do not want this to be reversed so that Government does not lose out.

If  mining companies have previously been caught cheating and under declaring  production figures, all in a bid to pay less tax to Government, what more now that an avenue has been opened up?

While Government would want to maximise its earnings from the mining sectors, it looks like the players in the sector have a different a view.

At least this is the impression we get from the comments of not just opposition leaders, but mining experts, who have urged Government to review and reverse this particular section  of the budget.

And a Lusaka clergyman Davies Musonda, has thrown his weight behind those advocating for safeguarding the interest of the nation in as far as the mining sector is concerned.

Pastor Musonda says for as long as Zambia does not conduct an operational audit of mines, the country will continue losing billions of dollars to deceitful mining companies.

He said it’s clear from discrepancies between what was being mined and declared by the mining companies, that the mining sector have not being paying their fair dues for mineral extraction.

Pastor Musonda, of the Destined Christian Impact Ministries,  said the talk about increasing production in the mining sector, while eliminating oversight, will leave the country with no revenue and burdened with environmental and health hazards for the government to contend with.

Indeed,  other aspects of the budget have been welcomed by many, such as the increment in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

For instance both Mungwi and Rufunsa council officials have welcomed the increment of CDF from K1.6 million to K25.7 million as a step in the right direction.

Departing from the views of some urban based law makers, who have found the increased CDF responsibility daunting, the rural councils are happy with the anticipated workload.

Rural councils have commended Government for increasing the CDF) saying that the funds will help to accelerate development in the remote parts of the country which have lagged behind in development.

In an interview, Mungwi Town Council chairperson, Grace Chomba observed that the rural councils had a number of developmental challenges and hence the increased allocation was a great relief.

She said that the councils have struggled to implement some key projects because of inadequate funds.

And Rufunsa Town Council chairman, Kennedy Mailoni was happy that the government had increased the CDF allocation. He observed that the rural areas had lagged behind in development and as such the allocation would help to enhance development.

He also pointed out that the technocrats in rural councils were more than qualified and able to handle the increased CDF allocation. 

This means that the rural areas are more ready to implement the budget as announced than some urban based law makers. 

The rural areas are surprisingly, relishing the challenge and ready for increased responsibility.

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