The economy has not done well; it has shrunk, says CSPR

THE Civil Society for Poverty Reduction has observed that Zambia’s economy has shrunk and that a year-end growth of about 4.2 per cent is “quite debatable.”

And Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) executive director Patrick Nshindano says the focus in Zambia, in terms of taxation, has been on the wrong individuals.

Speaking on a Diamond TV’s COSTA programme on Sunday evening, Nshindano explained that one thing that was evident was that Zambia was too economically stressed.

“[But] one thing that I commend government, especially now, is coming out and admitting that there are challenges and we need to work on these things. Firstly, when you look at the economic side, the economy has not done very well, it has not recovered since we were hit by a number of shocks, starting with external…when we saw our currency devaluating, copper prices going down, productivity half what it used to be, when you compare 2011/2012,” Nshindano noted.

“So, you have on one hand the economy that is not doing very well….  The economy has not done well – it has shrunk [and] now we are talking about year-end growth of about 4.2 per cent, which is also quite debatable – I hope we do meet it. But there is a positive side. But the reality is that we are in problems and we need to own up and be able to find solutions.”

On taxation, Nshindano underscored that the principle was that everyone ought to be able to pay the tax but in a fair manner.

“It has to be fair – those that have higher incomes, let them pay higher [and] those that don’t have let them pay less. But what you see in this country is the opposite; those that are avoiding large taxation, the multi-national businesses, they pay less than most of these people that are struggling. We need to ensure that the tax system becomes equitable such that if I’m paying as an individual, I know very well that I’m paying the right level of taxation,” he said.

“The focus has been on the wrong individuals. Let’s ensure that, first and foremost, we take these low hanging fruits, like I always call them. There are a lot of leakages within these multi-nationals, a case in point [is] the mining sector. Really, we are getting a raw deal – we need to get much more than we’re getting. This is the biggest sector of our economy but when you look at [it’s] contribution to the Treasury….”

Nshindano noted that when one paid tax, they deserved to receive service corresponding to the amount of the paid tax.

“[But] there is that disjoint; the quality of services that are being provided by the government are not equivalent to the level of taxation. If I’m paying [a] high tax, I should expect to drive on a good road, I will find drugs in a hospital, my child will go to a good school,” said Nshindano.

Source: The Mast

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