HH Criticises New Borehole and Ground Water Tax
Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has called for the cancellation of the new Borehole and ground water tax introduced by the PF government, saying that it is yet another example of the already very punitive and crippling taxes being forced upon the country.
Mr Hichilema said, 'In no uncertain terms, we demand that PF cancels this new tax on boreholes and ground water as it will not in anyway benefit the poor. These taxes being introduced by the PF are being done in bad faith and are only channels for them to swindle citizens through corruption.
He added, 'Our people have lived for centuries especially in rural areas without being taxed for the use of ground water but this new statutory instrument (SI) signed by the PF is shocking not only to us but the country as a whole. A UPND government would have focused our energies on ensuring that we provide safe drinking water for our people regardless of the locality. One cannot imagine a villager in Mbangomba, Kashinakazhi, Shangombo or indeed Kaputa being taxed and in an exorbitant manner for using their borehole, groundwater, dam or indeed naturally flowing water.”
Mr Hichilema went on to condemn the planned demolition over 4,000 houses in Chipata, Eastern Province, on the grounds that they had been built illegally.
'Water and land are the preserve of our people. Our brothers have lived on that piece of land for too long and the PF cannot today claim that they are illegally staying on that land. They were given that land by the government agencies such as the council and therefore plans to move them away are unwarranted and must be stopped forthwith,' he said.
Mr Hichilema went on to describe the plan as a front for Edgar Lungu to extort further the people of Zambia. He said, 'We understand that PF including Mr Edgar Lungu are grabbing land from the poor everywhere and then selling these pieces of land to the highest bidder leaving our people homeless. This is heartlessness of the worst kind. Therefore, we direct that no single house on the earmarked 4,000 should be demolished by the PF. It has become increasingly clear that the PF is only on a path of extorting our people not only through exorbitant taxes but also grabbing their only capital asset which is land.'